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published uvdeb the dibectiok of the 

Depaktment of Histobt 

from the income of 



The Colonising Activities of 
THE English Puritans 

The Last Phase of the Elizabethan 
Struggle with Spain 



Lecturer in Colonial Hittory, Univertity cf London 
With am Iittboddctiom 


new haven: yale university press 

london: humphrey milford 

oxford university press 


coptuuht, 1b14, by 
Yali Ukivkbiitt Psb 

First printed January. IMi. lOOO copies 


The first forty years of the seventeenth century in 
England, primarily of interest as a period of constitu- 
tional conflict, was marked by an outburst of romantic 
activity that sent hundreds of Englishmen out into the 
western seas in search of adventure and profit. Coinci- 
dent with the later days of these half -piratical expedi- 
tions and organised commercial enterprises were the 
migrations of those who, moved by impulses that were 
partly religious, partly political, and partly economic, 
sought independence of worship and permanent homes 
in the New World. Though differing widely in purposes 
and results, these joumeyings into the unknown West 
were often closely related in origin, and were supported 
by groups of men, aristocrats, commoners, merchants, 
and adventurers, who were ready to promote any under- 
taking, whether commercial or religious, that promised 
a profitable return. It is difiicult to grasp the full signifi- 
cance of the settlements of Virginia, Maryland, Massa- 
chusetts, and Saybrook, without a knowledge of the 
circumstances under which the colonies of Bermuda, 
Barbadoes, and Old Providence were established ; for all 
represented in different forms and proportions the in- 
fluences at work in the motherland which were arousing 
in men of all classes the spirit of adventure and revolt. 
No single motive governed the men who voyaged over 
seas during this romantic period. The zeal of the viking 
and the lust of the capitalist were inextricably inter- 
woven with the hopes of the godly in the task of opening 
and occupying the great frontier which stretched west- 
ward from the maritime states of Europe. 




In dealing with the events of this period the historian 
cannot isolate a part of his subject and observe it, as it 
were, in vacuo. Such treatment is illogical in ignoring 
the unity of causes which provoked colonial enterprise, 
and incomplete in omitting many phases of the larger 
movement that are essential to a proper understanding, 
not only of the whole, but of any of its parts. Hitherto, 
the picture of our settlement in the period from 1607 to 
1640 has been left provokingly incomplete, and, in conse- 
quence, estimates and conclusions have been reached that 
are often exaggerated, sometimes even grotesque. 
Writers on early American history have been accus- 
tomed, as a rule, to segregate individual efforts at 
colonisation and to deal with them as independent 
phenomena, thus giving to our era of beginnings 
the appearance of a running track, laid out in sepa- 
rate and mutually exclusive courses. However agree- 
able this form of procedure may be to those whose 
interest is limited to the history of a single colony, and 
whose chief concern is a microscopic examination of the 
incidents of that colony's career, it cannot be satisfactory 
to those to whom settlement on the American seaboard 
was but part of a larger commercial and colonising move- 
ment in the wider world of the Atlantic basin, where all 
the maritime enemies of Spain were engaged in the 
effort, successful in the end, to break the monopoly of the 
great Colossus. 

As a contribution to this aspect of our early history, 
I welcome Mr. Newton's book. Though dealing pri- 
marily with the colonising experiments of the English 
Puritans in the Caribbean, the author ranges over the 
larger field of English activity during the eventful years 
from 1604 to 1660 and gives us a point of view from 
which to observe the happenings in the New World. 
Thus to no small extent his work ^lls in the missing 


parts of onr picture and renders intelligible aspects of 
the scene that had hitherto remained obscure. Though 
many, phases of the subject still need to be investigated 
with the same painstaking care that is here expended 
on the history of the Puritan movement, yet the angle 
of observation is rightly selected and the character of 
the period is determined with accuracy and skill. At 
many points the narrative touches the ''originaP' colo- 
nies and throws needed light on details of their history. 
This is particularly true of the origins of Virginia and 
Massachusetts and the short-lived settlement of Say- 
brook, but it is also true of the later history of New 
England and of the relations of the Puritans of Massa- 
chusetts Bay with the aristocratic and conservative 
Puritans at home. Many passages in Winthrop's journal 
take on a new meaning, and the unity of Puritan activity, 
in England and New England and the Caribbean, mani- 
fests itself with striking significance. In short, we get 
glimpses of ourselves from the outside and an oppor-' 
tmnty of comparison that cannot but be beneficial. Self- 
contemplation is never conducive to soundness of judg- 
ment, if indulged in without regard to the world around 

Mr. Newton has done more than fill in our picture and 
set before us a new point of view. He has presented an 
exceedingly interesting account of a colonial settlement, 
hitherto almost unknown and, except in one or two 
features, entirely unstudied. The ample material that 
exists for the -history of the Providence Company and 
its colonising ventures enables the author to deal fully 
with the company, its organisation, personnel, and 
methods; with the colony, its types of settlers, manner 
of settlement, forms of cultivation, staples, labour, diffi- 
culties, quarrels, and other hindrances to success; and, 
lastly, with the relations between the two, government. 



defence, supplies, and distribution of profits. Not only 
is such a study of interest as showing the prevailing 
ideas of the period regarding a plantation, but it is 
particularly suggestive as a Puritan experiment, similar 
in its inception and spirit, during the early years of its 
career, to the colony of Massachusetts. As Mr. Newton 
says, * * The founders of both wished to provide a refuge 
for the oppressed victims of Laud's ecclesiastical 
regime, each was to be a sanctuary where the Puritans 
might worship God after their own fashion, each was to 
be a society ordered according to the dictates of religion 
and governed with justice and equity, but upon the 
strictest Puritan pattern.'' That the Providence settle- 
ment failed was in part due to its location in the heart 
of the Spanish Main, and in part to the fact that ''the 
founding of an ideal community and the pursuit of a 
profitable investment for trading capital are incom-. 
patible aims." The student of New England history 
cannot but profit from a study of an experiment that 
presents so many points in common with the Puritan 
settlements there. 

Of equal importance with the light thrown on the 
colonising activities of the period is the information 
furnished regarding the political situation in England 
and the connection of the members of the company, 
particularly John Pym and the Earl of Warwick, with 
organised resistance to the personal government of 
Charles I. The English Puritans formed a veritable 
clan, intimately bound together by ties of blood, mar- 
riage, and neighbourhood, and they acted together in all 
that concerned colonisation on one hand and autocratic 
rule on the other. The genealogical features of the book 
/ form an impressive commentary upon the religious and 
political groupings of the period, a commentary the more 
significant in that the company, which became the nucleus 


of resistance, was active as a chartered body during the 
very years when Charles I was endeavouring to rule 
without parliament. In the months of 1637, at a critical 
time in the constitutional conflict, '^ nothing less was in 
process of formation, '* says Mr. Newton, '*than the first 
organised poUtical party of opposition to an English 
government, ' ' and of this party John Pym, the treasurer 
of the company, was the leader and energising force. To 
the life of King Pym, the author has contributed a 
valuable chapter, disclosing the importance of his activi- 
ties during a period of obscurity, to which Gardiner was 
able to devote but a few lines in his elaborate article on 
Pym in the Dictionary of National Biography. As this 
period coincided also with the great migration to New 
England, so careful a study of Puritan plans and pur- 
poses furnishes a needed background to New England 
history, and sets forth for the first time the facts regard- 
ing the proposed withdrawal of the Puritan '* Lords and 
Gentlemen '* froin the Old World to the New. 

In the larger field of international relations, the Provi- 
dence Company played a conspicuous part. Starting as 
a Puritan colony, it merged into a privateering centre 
of warfare upon Spanish possessions in the West Indies 
and on the Main. Mr. Newton shows clearly that the 
Puritan company perpetuated the Elizabethan tradition 
of hostility to Spain, which continued for more than 
seventy years after the Armada, partly because religious 
warfare was still a vital force during the first half of 
the seventeenth century, and partly because with the 
opening of the colonising era a new rivalry arose for 
the possession of profitable vantage points in the West. 
The story of the Providence Company is, therefore, the 
story of organised opposition to Spain in the Caribbean; 
and its leaders, after the failure of their settlement, by 
handing on the traditional policy to Cromwell and the 



men of the Protectorate, prolonged the coniBict to the 
very eve of the Restoration. Apart from the main theme 
of the book, this abiding hostility to Spain is perhaps 
the most conspicuous feature of the narrative, and fur- 
nishes the connection between the deeds of Elizabethan 
seamen, the commercial enterprises of the Earl of War- 
wick, the work of the Providence Company, the voyages 
of William Jackson at the time of the Long Parliament, 
the Jamaican expedition of Cromwell, and the plans for 
an anti-Spanish West Indian company drafted by the 
merchants and sea captains at the close of the Inter- 
[regnum. In this respect, as in many others, Mr. Newton 
has been able to gather scattered threads into an orderly 
narrative and to give unity and meaning to many events 
hitherto treated in isolation. His book is of importance 
to English and American readers alike. 

Chables M. Andrews. 
Yale University, 




Author *s Introduction .... 1 

I. Beginnings of English Colonisation 13 

n. Puritan Emigration and the Formation of 

the Providence Company 40 

m. The Saybrook Project and the Settle- 
ment of Providence ... 80 

IV. The Planting of Tortuga (Association) 

and Troubles in Providence . 101 

V. Enlargement of the Activities of the 

Company ..... 123 

VI. Progress and Controversy in Association 

and Providence .... 146 

Vn. Projected Emigration to Connecticut: 

Saybrook 172 

Vlll. Spanish Attacks and the Company *s 

Change of Policy .... 187 

IX. Counter Attacks ..... 209 

X. The Providence Company and the Ship- 

Money Case ..... 236 

XL The Final Reconstruction of the Company 248 

Xn. Trade with the Main; French Capture 

of Tortuga 272 

Xm. The Company and New England . 283 

XIV. Capture of Providence by Spain . 294 

XV. The Abiding Influence of the Providence 

Company *8 Enterprises 314 



Nowhere, perhaps, in the great field of historic enquiry 
has there been during the past half -century more patient 
searching than in that corner where were laid the foun- 
dations of the modern constitutional liberties of two 
great nations, the English and the American. Writing 
now nearly thirty years ago, one of the most diligent of 
historical investigators said of the period he had pecu- 
liarly made his own: **The subject-matter has been 
already attempted by writers of no mean reputation, 
some of whom succeeded in convincing their readers 
that there is nothing more to be said about the matter ; 
but even the richest materials fail to yield all that the 
historian requires. Again and again, however the 
frontier of knowledge may be advanced, the enquirer is 
confronted by darkness into which he cannot safely 
penetrate.''^ The frontier of knowledge has Bfeen 
advanced beyond the point where Gardiner left it, and 
yet the darkness surrounds the seeker after truth who 
strays but a little from the well-trodden highways of 
Stuart history. It is in the hope of illumining some por- 
tion of this outer darkness that we engage ourselves in 
the following pages with the story of a long-forgotten 
attempt to colonise some insignificant West Indian 
islands, and shall endeavour to show that light sought 
even thus far from the scene of great events, may yet 
aid us to see those events in a more balanced perspective 
and a Uttle more in their own true colours. 

In our enquiry it will be borne in upon us again and 
again that the history of English colonisation in the first 
half of the seventeenth century is peculiarly a part of 
the history of England itself; colonising attempts were 

1 Ghirdiner, Fall of the Monarchy of Charles I, 1, p. v. 


blessed or frowned upon according to the exigencies of 
European politics, the jealousies and rivalries of Eng- 
lish courtiers or merchants involved similar rivalries of 
their servants abroad, and the quarrels that began at 
Whitehall or in Change Alley have swayed in a marked 
degree the destinies of colonists on the banks of the 
Chesapeake, in bleak New England, or among the tropic 
Caribbees. But, as in nature all action involves a 
reaction, so the course of English domestic politics under 
Charles I was materially influenced by the colonising 
schemes of the time. The leaders of the parliamentary 
opposition acquired their power of working harmo- 
niously together in the joint schemes of colonisation that 
interested them; men who had for years discussed 
questions of policy round the board of a chartered com- 
pany, were more capable of acting in concert than had 
they only met one another in the hunting field, upon the 
bench or during the rare and brief sesffons of parlia- 
ment. The work of the Long Parliament, that broke 
forever the power of absolute monarchy in England, 
and made possible Cromwell's schemes of world politics, 
was begun in the courts of the Virginia, the Saybrook, 
and the Providence companies. It is in connection with 
the story of the last of these, the Company of Adven- 
turers to the Island of Providence, that we shall pursue 
an attempt to trace out once more some parts of the 
oft-told tale of the great Puritan migration, and to enter 
upon the little-explored field of West Indian history in 
the seventeenth century. 

The story of the company that undertook the coloni- 
sation of the islands of Providence, Henrietta, and 
Association, and engaged in various attempts at trade 
and colonisation upon the mainland of Central America, 
is of interest from several points of view. The adven- 
turers in the company included amongst their number 


f almost every important member of the mner circle of 
I leaders in opposition to the arbitrary rule of Charles I. 
The Earl of Warwick, Viscount Saye and Sele, and Lord 
Brooke took a most active part in the company's affairs 
throughout; John Pym was its treasurer and the prime 
mover in every design; while Sir Gilbert Gerrard, Sir 
Benjamin Budyerd, and Sir Thomas Barrington, all 
active members of the Puritan party in the Long Parlia- 
ment, were imremitting in their attention to its business. 
Other well-known names met with are those of Oliver / 
St. John, John Gurdon, the intimate friend of John 
Winthrop, John Bobartes, the Earl of Radnor of Charles 
II 's reign, John Hampden, and Sir William Waller, and 
we shall find that the company provided an outlet for 
the energies of the parliament men who were thrust out 
from national affairs during the long eleven years of 
personal government. On the 2d of March, 1629, Charles 
I's third parftiment was dissolved amid scenes of 
unprecedented violence and on the 28th of April, Sir 
Nathaniel Bich received from Bermuda the letter that 
led to the formation of the new company. On the 3d of 
November, 1640, the Long Parliament met and the last 
act of the great constitutional struggle began, while on 
the 28th of March, 1641, the last letters to Providence 
were signed, letters that were never to be received, for 
the island was taken by the Spaniards in May of the 
same year. The eleven years of the company *s activity 
therefore coincide almost exactly with the eleven years 
of Charles I's autocracy. This coincidence will seem the 
more striking when we show that between 1636 and 1640 
many of the plans of opposition to the government were 
matured in security under cloak of the company *s 

Through the history of the Providence Company and 
the allied designs of the Earl of Warwick in the West 


Indies it is possible to trace the development of the 
Elizabethan tradition of hostility to Spain down to the 
capture of Jamaica in 1655 and the foundation on a firm 
basis of the West Indian empire, that during the eight- 
eenth century was of such paramount importance to 
England. The semi-legal piracy that was carried on 
under the aegis of the company, connects the f reebooting 
enterprises of Drake, Cumberland, and the Elizabethan 
sea-dogs with CromwelPs * 'Western Design," a plan that 
had its inspiration from the minds of Pym and of War- 
wick. Cromwell himself took no part in the work of 
the Providence Company, though there is no doubt that 
he was intimately acquainted with it. His aunt Joan 
was the mother of Sir Thomas Barrington, and some 
of his most intimate friends were deeply interested in, 
the company's affairs; the Earl of Warwick was lord 
high admiral of the parliamentary fleet till 1649, while 
William Jessop, who had been secretary of the Provi- 
dence Company, was clerk of the Council of State which 
took over the lord high admiral's functions after 
Warwick had resigned. 

There is an intimate connection between the Provi- 
dence Company and the strictly contemporary colonisa- 
tion of New England. In its beginnings the Massachu- 
setts enterprise was dependent for its influence with the 
ruling powers upon the members of the Providence 
Company. The original patent of the Saybrook settle- 
ment was issued to them, and, though in later years the 
company's aims and those of the rulers of Massachusetts 
were seen to be hopelessly divergent, it was through the 
Providence leaders that the principles which led to the 
Massachusetts migration were brought to bear upon the 
development of the English nation. It is possible to 
trace in the company's records the ideas of colonisation 
that animated the English country gentler^en who were 


the Pnritan leaders, and the development of their design 
of founding a refuge for the Nonconformists from the 
Laudian persecution. The ideas of John White of Dor- 
chester, expressed in widely circulated pamphlets and 
letters, commended themselves to the leaders as well as 
to the rank and file of the Puritans, but while the eyes ; 
of Warwick, Saye, Rich, and Pym were turned to the 
West Indies as the proper home for a Puritan colony, 
the leaders of the great migration, Winthrop and Dudley, 
whose names before 1630 were hardly known outside 
their immediate circle, dared to differ from their power- 
ful friends and, defying precedent, directed the ever- 
sweUing stream of emi^ants to the shores of Massa- 
chusetts Bay, there to found rather a conunonwealth 
than a colony. 

We have concerning Providence a wealth of detail, 
which is lacking for the colonies in St. Christopher and 
Barbadoes. It is possible to trace the course of its 
development from the early ideal of the colony as a 
home for Englishmen to the realisation of a tropical 
plantation where all manual labour was performed by 
negro slaves for the profit of a few white planters, a 
plantation such as Barbadoes became, after the intro- 
duction of the cultivation of sugar on a conunercial scale 
gave to the West Indies the profitable staple commodity 
that had so long been sought. Interest of a more per- 
sonal character is not lacking from the records, which 
in many ways illuminate the views and aspirations of 
the time and especially those of John Pym, the great 
protagonist of the constitutional struggle, whose organ- 
ising capacity and steadfastness of purpose guided the 
company in every emergency. Pym *s life outside parlia- 
ment has been very little studied, and it is of interest 
therefore to trace in these records the application of his 
views of statesmanship to the government of a colony. 


and to catch here and there a glimpse of his ideas con- 
cerning England's true foreign policy as the unrelenting 
opponent of Spanish power, ideas which his successor, 
Cromwell, was able to carry into effect when the times 
were propitious. The career of Robert Rich, Earl of 
Warwick, will also demand a share of our attention 
and rightly, for to him, perhaps more than to any of his 
contemporaries, is credit due for a persistence in colonis- 
ing enterprise through good or evil fortune, that has 
written his name large in the records of every English 
colony of his time. 

The story of the Providence Company falls naturally 
into two portions ; from its foundation down to the year 
1635 the company was endeavouring to build up a Puri- 
tan community, but at the same time by the raising of 
saleable crops to make a profit on the capital invested; 
in 1635 this design, having proved impracticable, was to 
a large extent abandoned and the colony became openly, 
what before it had been secretly, a base for privateering 
against the Spaniards. Our attention will first be 
directed to the circumstances that gave rise to the 
formation of the company and to the history of Provi- 
dence as a Puritan settlement. As such it failed miser- 
ably, but its story is worth study from this point of view, 
if only as showing that Puritanism was not necessarily 
as successful a colonising force as might be supposed 
if New England only were considered. The secon d por- 
tion of our enquiry will be concerned with Providence 
as a centre of buccaneering enterprise and as a fortress 
whence were directed efforts to plant an English colony 
upon the mainland of Central America. The company's 
endeavours to found a Puritan colony during this period 
were at first directed to the banks of the Connecticut 
River, but, when they again proved unsuccessful, 
attempts were made to people the Central American 


colony from New England, and our attention must be 
directed to the resulting hostility of the rulers of Massa- 
chusetts to the English leaders of the Puritan party, a 
hostility which will show us how far even in those early 
days Massachusetts had diverged from the normal course 
of English development. 

The sources of our information of the company's 
affairs may be briefly stated. The Providence Company 
and its efforts to colonise its islands and to establish 
English trade upon the mainland of Central America 
lasted, as we have seen, only for the eleven years from 
1630 to 1641 and have been quite forgotten by succeeding 
generations. So much has this been the case that the 
chief colony, established upon the small island of Santa 
Catalina off the Moskito Coast, has, owing to its English 
name of Providence, been confused since the middle of 
the eighteenth century with the Island of New Provi- 
dence in the Bahamas, the colonisation of which was not 
seriously undertaken till 1670. The earliest instance 
of confusion concerning the colony appears to occur in 
John Josselyn's Account of two Voyages to New Eng- 
land, published in 1675, where Providence is said to be 
one of the Somers or Bermuda Islands, and in the same 
author's Chronological Observations of America, the 
mistake occurs in a similar form.' In Hutchinson's 
History of Massachusetts Bay, published in 1760, the 
accounts of the dealings of New England with the Provi- 
dence colony that had been derived from Hubbard's 
manuscript history of New England (1680), are misap- 
plied to New Providence in the Bahamas.* The same con- 

2 An Account of two Voyages into New England by John Josselyn, London, 
1675. Chronological Observations of America, London, 1673. Both reprinted 
in Maw. Hist. Soc. Coll, 3d Series, Vol. III. See p. 381 nnder date 1637. 
' ' The Spaniards took the Island of Providence, one of the Summer Islands, 
from the English. ' ' Both date and position wrong. 

sHotchinson, History of MassaoMuetts Bay, London, 1760, p. 96, "The 


fusion can also be traced in ChurchilPs Voyages (1763) 
and has passed thence into Pinkerton^s Voyages (1810) 
and Southey^s Chronological History of the West Indies 
(1827), though the latter speaks of the colony in some 
places as Santa Catarina or Old Providence,* and in 
others of it as New Providence in the Bahamas. The 
Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, 1574-1660, in which 
the records of the colony are calendared, continues the 
confusion and speaks throughout of the Bahamas, imder 
which title the papers were then catalogued in the Public 
Record Office. From the Calendar the error has crept 
into many modem works which speak of the colonisation 
of the Bahamas as having taken place in 1630.*^ Owing 
to the enquiries of Major General Sir J. H. Lefroy, the 
author of the Memorials of the Bermudas, the true ver- 
sion of the matter was finally arrived at by W. N. Sains- 
bury, the editor of the Calendar, and placed on record 
in the Athen(Bum, May, 1876. He showed conclusively 
that the records of the company are quite inconsistent 
with the history of New Providence in the Bahamas, 
and that they refer to the island of Old Providence off 
the Moskito Coast, whose later occupation by the bucca- 
neers in the reign of Charles II is well known. The 
Bahamas or Veajus Islands were included within the 

Lords and others concerned in this attempt to settle the Bahama Islands 
spent £60,000." 

« Southej, Chronologicdl History of the West Indies, London, 1827, 1, 279, 
''1637. The English were in possession of Santa Catarina or Old Provi- 
dence." I, 293, ''1641. The Spaniards attacked the English at New 
Providence. ' ' 

B See for instance Cunningham, Growth of British Industry, Modem 
Times, I, 332 ju C. J. Hoadly, The Warwick Patent. The Acorn Club, 
Hartford, Conn., 1902. Brown, Genesis of the United States, II, 979, etc. 
Many difficulties arise in the short biographies annexed to this work from 
the confusion of Sa. Catalina with New Providence. See especially the life 
of Daniel Elfrith. 


limits of Sir Robert Heath's Carolana patent of 1629, 
but no steps were taken for their colonisation.' / 

The records of the Providence Company are contained 
in two thick folio volumes preserved in the Public Record 
OflGice.' They are entitled respectively ** Journal of the 
Governor and Company of Adventurers for the Planta- 
tion of the Island of Providence ' ' and * * Book of Entries 
of, ' ' etc., and contain, as these titles imply, minutes of the 
meetings held by the company and copies of the letters 
despatched to the colony. We have in the two volumes a 
complete and unbroken record in the greatest detail of the 
proceedings of the company from its foundation in 1630 
to the capture of the island of Providence by the Span- 
iards in 1641 and the abandonment by the company of all 
its designs in the West Indies owing to the absorption of 
its moving spirit, John Pym, in the struggles of the Long 
Parliament and to his early death. It is suggested in 
the preface to the Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, 
1574-1660, that the volumes were written most probably 
between 1640 and 1650, when several proceedings were 
being taken concerning the debts of the company. So 
far as the company's journal is concerned, this would 
appear to be correct, but the entry book of letters is 
written throughout in the hand of William Jessop, the 
secretary of the company, and it is annotated by him in 
the same way as his own private Letter Book, containing 
in shorthand the drafts of less important letters written 
to the colony and now preserved in the British Museum.* 
The volumes of the Historical MSS. Commission contain 
many references to the company and from them it is 

• C. 8. p. Col, 30 Oet. 1629, Grant to Sir Bobert Heath of a territory in 
America betwixt 31 and 36 degrees of North Latitude, "together with the 
Islands of Veajns or Bahamas and all other islands lying southerly or near 
npon the said continent." 

T P. B. 0., C. O. 124, 1 and 2. 

• Brit. Mus., Add. MSS., 10615. 


possible to throw some additional light npon its doings. 
From the Manchester Papers,* now in the Public Eecord 
Office, we learn something of the beginnings of the com- 
pany as an offshoot from the Somers Islands Company, 
and among these papers are also preserved a few letters 
written from the islands to Sir Nathaniel Rich, or to 
Viscount Mandeville, the Earl of Manchester of the Civil 
War. Most of the extant letters from the colony in its 
early days are to be found among the Barrington MSS., 
now in the British Museum,**^ but once the property of 
Sir Thomas Barrington, for some time deputy governor 
of the company and one of the leaders of the parliamen- 
tary party in Essex during the Civil War. Scattered 
references to the company are also to be found among 
the Bouverie MSS.," once the property of John Pym, and 
the Hulton MSS.," which come to us from William 
Jessop, the secretary of the company and afterwards 
clerk to the Council of State and the Restoration House 
of Commons. Repeated references to the company and 
colony are to be found in the Winthrop Papers and 
Winthrop^s Journal printed in the Collections of the 
Massachusetts Historical Society." In the British 
Museum" is the manuscript Diary of Capt. Nathaniel 
Butler, who was governor of the colony in 1639 
and this gives us in detail a picture of Providence as 
a privateering stronghold. 

Printed references to the colony are not very numer- 
ous, but we hear of its beginnings in the diary of John 

• Very briefly calendared in Hist. MSS. Comm., Eighth Beport, Appendix 
2. In this study only the original papers themselves have been used. 

10 Brit. Mus., Eg., 2643-51. 

11 Hist. MSS. Gomm., Seventh Beport, Appendix. 
IS Ibid., Twelfth Beport, Appendix. 

i« Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., 3d Series, VoL IX, 4th Vols. VI and VH, 5th 
Vol. I, 6th Vol. in. 

i« Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS., 758. 


Rons (1625-1641)," and many details concerning the 
relations of the colonists with New England from 
Hubbard's history of Massachusetts." Some light is 
thrown upon the later history of the colony by the life 
of the Rev. Mr. Leverton, a minister there, in Calamy's 
Nonconformists MemofiaV The colony appeared 
to the Spaniards as a mere nest of pirates and their views 
concerning it can be gathered from Gage's New Survey 
of the West Indies,^^ written about 1638, but not pub- 
lished till later. Gage was himself an eyewitness of 
some of the piratical exploits of the Providence colonists, 
and had personal relations with those of them who had 
been taken prisoners by the Spaniards. Much light on 
the island's story is also thrown by the many Spanish 
MSS. relating to the West Indies preserved in the 
British Museum; some of these are originals," while 
others are copies made from the originals at Simancas 
for the purposes of the Venezuelan Arbitration.'® They 
include many letters from the Spanish officials in the 
Indies, bewailing the constant depredations of the Eng- 
lish and Dutch corsairs and pleading for assistance to 
clear the Caribbean of their presence. Other Spanish 
sources of information are mentioned in the text. The 
only modem account of the company that affords reliable 
information is contained in Scott's learned work on 
joint stock companies," where, for the first time, the 
importance of Providence in English colonial history is 
properly appreciated. 

i» Camden Soc, Vol. XUI. 

!• Printed in Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. 

IT Ed. Calamj, D. D., The Nonconformist 'a Memorial, Palmer's edition, 

1* T. Gage, The English American, his Travail by Sea and Land, London 

i» Especially in the Kingsborongh Collection. Add. MSS., 13977, etc. 

so Venezuela Papers, Add. MSS., 36314-36327. 

SI W. B. Scott, Joint Stock Companies to 17B0, London 1911. 


The island of Santa Catalina, or Providence, is sit- 
f nated off the eastern coast of Nicaragua npon the edge 
of the Moskito Bank abont equidistant from Porto Bello, 
Cartagena, and the island of Jamaica, and lies very close 
to the track of vessels sailing from Porto Bello or Carta- 
gena to Mexico and Havana. The island is abont six 
miles long and four wide, and is described by Alcedo** 
as one of the best of the West India islands, notwith- 
standing its small size, as well from the salubrity of its 
climate as from its fertility. It is exceptionally easy of 
fortification, abounds in fine water, and is said to contain 
no serpent or venomous insect. It now forms part of 
the Republic of Colombia and is inhabited by a few hun- 
dred negroes. San Andreas or Henrietta, which was 
also granted by patent to the company, lies some sixty 
miles southwest of Providence and is about sixteen miles 
in length by four in width. It is a long, low island 
abounding in fine timber, but neither as easily fortifiable 
nor as fertile as Providence. ' It also is now a possession 
of the Republic of Colombia. Tortugajir-Aasociation, the 
third island which will concern us, lies off the northwest 
coast of the island of Hispaniola or Hayti, within a few 
miles of Cape San Nicolas and the entrance to the Wind- 
ward Passage between Hispaniola and Cuba. It is sur- 
rounded by rocks and shoals, which render access to its 
fine harbour difficult. Tortuga had been a rendezvous 
for the rovers of all nations, at any rate since the time 
of Drake; from 1640 on it became the headquarters of 
buccaneering enterprise in the West Indies under the 
8Bgis of the French. It now forms a part of the negro 
republic of Hayti. 

ss A. de Alcedo, Oeographical and Hiatorioal Dictionary of America and 
the West Indies, TransL by G. A. ThompBon, 5 voIb., and Atlas. London 




In August, 1604, the treaty of peace was signed that 
brought the long war between England and Spain to an 
end. War had been officially waged between the two 
powers since 1587, but ever since Hawkins* ill-fated 
voyage of 1567-1568 the preying of English privateers 
upon the Spanish shipping and towns in the West Indies 
had proved a constant source of profit to the merchants 
who financed them. Since the * * Islands Voyage ' ' of 1597 
the war had remained in the hands of the privateers,** 
who were waxing ever bolder, and their daring attacks 
both on the coast of Spain and in the East and West 
Indies had been returning handsome profits to their 
owners. The romance of their bolder strokes, so vividly 
described in the pages of H^kluyt and Purchas, must 
not blind us to the fact that In Ihe main this privateering 
was a sordid and prosaic business, which was expected 
to return its proper percentage of profits to the owners 
without involving an unnecessary amount of risk. The 
settled policy of the Spanish government to regard the 
Indies as the private property of the crown involved of 
necessity the official view that every foreigner, or, for 
that matter, every unauthorised Spaniard, found within 
the Indies was to be looked upon as a trespasser and a 
robber. But the Spanish fleets that formed the only 
authorised means of conununication between the Indies 
and Europe were to a considerable extent navigated by 
Flemings and by Englishmen, who thus acquired a thor- 
ns Sir J. K. Laughton in Camb. Mad. Hist,, JJl, 327. 


ongh acquaintance with American waters and had many 
friends in every port. The unofficial Spaniard, there- 
fore, could not brand all foreigners as criminals and in 
many instances we find a considerable amount of good 
feeling existing between the Spanish colonists and the 
visitors to their shores. In the last years of the war 
period the greater part of the Spanish shipping had 
been driven from the sea and only very small profits 
would have been returned by mere privateering. A far 
more profitable way of employing capital was to carry 
out from Europe a full cargo of manufactured goods to 
be disposed of secretly in the Indies either to Spaniards 
or to the natives, and to return laden with the tropical 
products for which they had been exchanged. An even 
more prosaic trade which reached large dimensions 
about 1600, was the carrying of salt to Europe from 
Punta Araya on the coast of Venezuela. The ships, both 
Dutch and English, came out laden with goods for barter 
and after disposing of them met at the great salt pans 
some fifty miles from Margarita, where their holds were 
filled with salt, which was then conveyed to England 
and to Flanders and sold at an excellent profit. Between 
June, 1602, and May, 1603, one hundred and seventy-two 
salt vessels and thirty barter vessels of large size came 
to Araya, and at one time in January, 1603, sixty salt 
vessels and four barter vessels were lading salt at one 
time," thus showing that the trade had reached large 

With the conclusion of peace, the facilities for fitting 
out these ships in English ports and the ease of disposal 
of their cargoes on their return were at an end. King 

S4 Venezuela Papers, Add. MS8., 36318, fo. 191. Governor of Gumana 
to King. The letters from the Indies abound with complaints of the 
clandestine trade. Far more harm was done to the royal revenue hj this 
barter than hj all the more showjr exploits of Cumberland, Parker, and 


James, it was well known, regarded the war as at once 
concluded by his accession, for as king of Scotland he 
had always been on terms of peace and amity with the 
Spanish crown. The terms of the treaty itself were a 
complete surrender of the English right of trade to the 
Indies,*" the recognition of which Elizabeth had always 
insisted upon as a necessary condition of peace. It was 
no longer possible for a reputable merchant to engage 
openly in the West Indian trade and large amounts of 
capital began to be withdrawn and turned to other uses. 
Capt. John Smith, writing in 1629, puts ;the matter 
clearly: ** After the death of our most gracious Queen 
Elizabeth of blessed memory, our Boyal King James, who 
from his infancy had reigned in peace with all Nations, 
had no employment for those men-of-war, so that those 
that were rich, rested with that they had ; those that were 
poor and had nothing but from hand to mouth, turned 
Pirates ; some, because they had got much wealth ; some, 
for that they could not get their due ; some, that had lived 
bravely, would not abase themselves to poverty; some 
vainly, only to get a name ; others for revenge, covetous- 
ness or as ill; and as they found themselves more and 
more oppressed, their passions increasing with discon- 
tent made them turn Pirates.'"* That a very large 
increase of the evil of piracy ensued after the signing 
of the peace may be very roughly proved from the 
Calendar of State Papers, Domestic. In the four years, 
1603-1607, only eleven mentions of piracy occur and most 
of these are concerned with the granting of pardons to 
English sailors accused of technical piracy against 
French and Venetian ships. In the four years, 1607- 
1610, piracy is mentioned twenty-eight times and mostly 
in connection with outrages on English ships. So acute 

n Camb. Mod. Hist, HI, 537. 

>• Smith's WarJc9 (ed. Arber), p. 914. 



had the evil become in 1609 that a royal commission was 
appointed to find some means of putting a stop to the 
pirates* depredations. Many of the more far-seeing 
London merchants had long realised the precariousness 
of privateering enterprise and had endeavoured to 
engage solely in legitimate trade,*' but others in alliance 
with men of high rank such as George Cliflford, Earl of 
Cumberland, had expended in it large amounts of capital 
and had organised what were in reality small navies, 
most of the ships sailing under the EngUsh flag, but 
others under that of the states of Holland or of Zeeland. 
One of the foremost of the wealthy men of high rank 
engaged in schemes of this description, was Lord Rich, 
who had numbers of ships always at sea. The cessation 
of hostilities between England and Spain made little 
difference to his fleet, which merely changed its letters 
of marque from English to Dutch and made its home 
ports Middleburg or Flushing instead of the port of 
London.** When the twelve years' truce of 1609 sus- 
pended hostilities between the States and Spain and 
withdrew Dutch letters of marque. Rich's operations 
continued as before, but under different colours, and 
some years later we find his ships sailing the Channel 
with commissions from the Duke of Savoy and still 
returning a handsome profit to their owner.** 
' The withdrawal of the greater part of the English 
' capital invested in privateering set it free for employ- 
ment in other directions, and the first five years of the 
seventeenth century saw the despatch of many private 

27 Cunningham, English Industry, Mod. Times, 1, 70. 

S8 The many ramifications of the schemes of the Bich family lie bejond 
the scope of this enquiry, but sidelights will be thrown on their later 
developments in subsequent chapters. From at any rate 1600 onwards the 
Bich family always had a commercial agent at Middleburg or Amsterdam. 

«» Hist. MS8. Comm., Fourth Beport. C. 8, P. Dom,, 1609-1618. C. 8. P. 
East Indies, 16171621, p. IzxxvL 



expeditions for exploration to the Northwest, mostly 
financed by the merchants who had fitted out the expedi- 
tions of the late sixteenth century;'® the acute economic 
difficulties of the time, caused by the growth of popu- 
lation, induced publicists like Popham to join hands with 
these great merchants and to suggest that the time was 
now propitious for the carrying out of the ideas of 
colonisation that had so long been expounded by Gilbert 
and Baleigh. It is to this conjunction of interests that 
the founding of the Plymouth and London Companies 
for Virginia was due. 

Previous attempts at English colonisation had been 
made in each of three directions, and it is of interest to 
note that geographical conditions had a good deal to do 
with the location of the first successful colony. In 1600 
the shores of the American continents were inhabited 
by Europeans in three regions separated by enormous 
stretches of unexplored coast; the Hispano-Portuguese • 
empire of Brazil was divided from the Spanish territory 
round the Caribbean by the no man's land of Guiana. 
The shores of the Caribbean and the islands of the * 
Antilles were all occupied in a loose kind of way by the 
Spanish power or rendered inaccessible by the presence 
of the fierce and cannibal Caribs, while to the northward 
Florida, the scene of the long-remembered massacre of • 
Bibault and Laudonniere 's Huguenot colonists, was 
sundered by Baleigh 's deserted Virginia from the 
regions round the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where the 
French fur-traders were beginning to found a regular 
trade with the Indians, and where Newfoundland was 
already a temporary home for fishermen of all the 
northern nations. The route to all these regions, save 
the last, was in the main the same; coasting down the 
shores of Spain and Africa till Cape Cantin was reached, 

*o Kingsbury, Introd, to Becarda of Va, Co,, p. 14. 


a course was made for the Canaries'^ and thence, after 
watering, a due westerly course was steered for the 
Island of Deseada or for Dominica. For Brazil a south- 
westerly course from the Canaries was taken." The 
direct and more northerly route to Virginia was only 
discovered by Argall in 1614 and was not regularl> used 
until some years after that date. The homeward course 
by the Gulf stream lay through the Florida Channel and 
across by the Azores, so that the shores of Virginia 
would be the last point seen upon the American conti- 
nent. Gilbert's attempts at colonisation had followed 
the northerly fishing route to Newfoundland'* and were 
long remembered for the extreme hardships that had 
been encountered ; Raleigh, however, had taken the usual 
southern course and had endeavoured to plant his colo- 
nies either in Guiana, the first unoccupied portion of the 
mainland met with, or in Virginia, the last left. Now we 
shall show later that, notwithstanding Raleigh's double 
failure in Guiana, repeated efforts were made by English- 
men to establish trading stations there during the early 
years of the seventeenth century, though the conditions 
were too precarious to attract the attention of the larger 
capitalists, who had to keep King James's pro-Spanish 
predilections in view. England could show a plausible 
claim^f right to Virginia by the ancient discoveries of 
the Cabots, and the region was more attractive to the 
merchant adventurers as affording a hope of discovery 
of the long-sought channel leading westward into the 
Sea of Cathay. It was Virginia that was therefore 
chosen with the royal sanction as the scene of the new 
effort at colonisation. 
The two branches of the Virginia Company received 

siHakluyt's Voyages (ETeryman Edition), VII, 246. 
MParchas's PUgrims (Maclehose's Edition), XVI, 179. 
»» Hakluyt, VI, 8. 



their patents from the king in April, 1606,*^ and the | 
London Company, among whose members were most of 
the merchants in whom we are interested,*" and notably 
Sir Thomas Smythe and the Riches, at once took steps 
to fit out a pioneer expedition. The North Virginia 
Company contained fewer men of practical business 
experience and soon fell into a moribund condition, but 
the London Company succeeded by 1609 in enlisting in 
their work the sympathies of almost every rank of 
society. Englishmen saw in the new colony the only- 
means open to them of continuing the efforts to curb the 
overweening power of Spain, that had been abandoned 
by King James and his advisers, but this widespread 
interest soon failed before the. prosaic difficulties of the 
undertaking, and before long the management of the 
company's affairs fell into the hands of a small number 
of men of high rank and of a group of well-to-do London 
merchants, many of whom had long been interested in 
privateering enterprises. The Spanish ministers re-* 
garded the Virginia colony as a perfidious device of the 
English government for continuing English piratical 
enterprise in defiance of the recently concluded treaty, 
and we can read in the letters of the Spanish officials" 
the same complaints against the new colony that had so 
often been penned from Venezuela and the same sug- 
gestions for nipping the infant community in the bud." 
Lying directly in the path of ships northward bound 

s« Brown, Genesis of the United States, 1, 52-62. 

»» Kingsbury, Introd. to Records of Va, Co., p. 14, 

*• Brown, Genesis, I, passim, 

87 Add. MSS., 36317, fo. 372. Diego Suarez de Amaja, Governor of 
Onmana, writes to the King on Dec. 8, 1600, suggesting that the salt at 
Punta Araya should be poisoned in order to destroy the Dutch and English 
pirates wholesale. Zuniga repeatedly suggested that the whole of the 
Virginia colonists should be wiped out to avoid further growth of the 


through the Florida Channel, the Bermuda Islands had 
had an evil reputation throughout the sixteenth century 
as a place of storms^ and were in consequence always 
avoided by mariners. But after Sir George Somers's 
shipwreck there in July, 1609, and the subsequent fur- 
nishing of Virginia with much-needed provisions, the 
islands were claimed as lying within the grant of the 
Virginia Company and as forming a likely field for col- 
onisation. Their importance was so little appreciated, 
however, that the active members of 1612 bought out the 
Virginia Company ^s rights' and formed a fresh company 
of only one hundred and twenty adventurers to under- 
take the plantation. The new company entered on its 
operations with vigour and secured a fresh charter on 
June 29, 1615." 

For some years matters proceeded smoothly in both 
companies, the most active part in their management 
being taken by those who had, along with the Eich 
family, an interest in pseudo-privateering enterprise in 
the West Indies. Gradually, however, we find that two 
factions were forming in the companies and by 1619 
matters were rapidly moving to an open breach. 

In May, 1619, Sir Thomas Smythe, who, as treasurer, 
had been the executive head of the Virginia Company 
since its foundation, was displaced and Sir Edwin 
Sandys was elected in his stead." The complete story 
of this quarrel in the Virginia Company has never yet 
been written from the standpoint of the Warwick faction, 
and we can here only deal with those aspects of it that 
bear directly upon our subject. It must be noted, how- 
ever, that Sir Thomas Smythe and his supporters repre- 
sented the privileged merchants of the Merchant 
Adventurers, the East India, the Turkey, and other 

«8 C. 8. p. Col, 1574-1660, p. 17. 
»» C. 8. P. Dom., 1619, p. 44. 


companies who believed in carrying on Elizabethan 
traditions and had been interested in privateering in 
earlier years, while Sandys had, since his chairmanship 
of the Commons committee on the free trade bills of 
1604,*® definitely committed himself to hostility to the 
privileged companies. Personal rivalries and family 
feuds were to a considerable extent responsible for the 
ranging of the aristocratic members of the company on 
opposite sides and for their bitterness one against 

Sir Thomas Smythe after his displacement still re- 
tained the leadership of the Somers Islands Company, 
but this did nothing to assuage ill-feeling, and Alderman 
Johnson, one of his warmest supporters in the City of 
London, attempted to organize an attack upon Sandys, 
the new Virginia treasurer. He did not secure much 
support at first and was censured by a committee of the 
Virginia Company held at Southampton House" on July 
8, 1619, of which both the Earl of Warwick and Sir 
Nathaniel Rich were members. About the beginning of 
1620, however, rumours began to spread abroad of some 
mysterious exploit against the Spaniards achieved by 
a certain Capt. Daniel Elfrith in a ship called the 
Treasurer; Elfrith seems to have been in a sense acting 
under the orders of Capt. Samuel Argall, who had been 

«o Hewins, Trade and Finance in the 17th Century, ch. III. 

4^ The groapings of the parties in the quarrel recaU the scandal that 
divided society into two hostile camps in the previous generation. Penelope 
Devereoz, Lady Bich, Warwick's mother, lived for years in open adultery 
with Charles Blount, Earl of DevonshirOi and the bitterest hostility reigned 
between her legitimate offspring and the children of her illicit union, of 
whom the eldest, Mountjoy Blount, afterwards Earl of Newport, was 
received into high favour at court in 1617. Southampton, Sachville, and 
the Cavendishes sided with the Blounts and it seems to be a legitimate 
hypothesis to assume that this added another to the many 'causes of the 

42 Manch. Pap., nos. 250, 251. 



governor of Virginia and was using the Earl of War- 
wick's name as a bolster to his unwarrantable actions.*' 
Elf rith brought his vessel to Bermuda in an unseaworthy 
condition and with her a number of negroes. That the 
Earl of Warwick was not entirely unconnected with the 
Treasurer's piratical proceedings can be seen by a letter 
written to him from Bermuda by his protege, Capt. 
Nathaniel Butler, the governor, to the effect that he had 
disposed of his lordship's negroes according to instruc- 
tions, but that the Treasurer's people were dangerous- 
tongued fellows and had given out secretly that, if they 
were not paid to their uttermost penny of wages, they 
** would go to the Spanish Ambassador and tell all.''** 
It is a mistake to suppose with some modern writers 
that anything very terrible lay behind this threat and 
that the mariners of the Treasurer and her sister ship, 
the Neptune, were bloodthirsty ruflSans of the type of 
the legendary Capt. Kidd, sailing beneath the skull and 
cross-bones and ready for any deed of darkness. The 
Spanish ambassador of the time was Diego Sarmiento 
d'Acuna, Conde de Gondomar ; in 1620 the broken thread 
of negotiation for the Spanish Match had just been 
picked up, and E^ing James was ready to do anything 
to propitiate the Spanish monarchy. Only two years 
before, Raleigh, in spite of the semi-approval with which 
James had regarded his proceedings, had been sent to 
the block on a similar charge of piracy, and a threat of 
disclosure, therefore, was no idle one. 

The council of the Virginia Company was informed 
by Capt. Yeardley, the governor, that the Treasurer, 
which was admitted to be the Earl of Warwick's prop- 
erty, was supposed to have **gone to rob the King of 

«3 Manch. Pap., no. 262, 20 Jan., 1620. 

*^Ihid,, 9 Oct., 1620, no. 275. A very full list of the documents con- 
nected with this affair is contained in Kingsbury's Bee, of Va, Co, 


Spain's subjects in the West Indies by direction from 
my Lord of Warwick.'*" Sir Edwin Sandys and the 
council agreed that it was necessary to communicate the 
information to the Privy Council, but only after having 
** first blotted my Lord of Warwick's name out of the 
letters.'' No action was taken at the time and the War- 
wick party succeeded in hushing matters up. Further 
letters arrived from Virginia with details as to the ship 's 
proceedings derived from one of the crew, who had been 
left behind in the colony; Sandys at once, on receipt of 
these depositions, reopened the matter by assembling the 
council and persuading them to acquaint the Spanish 
ambassador and the lords of the Privy Council with the 
facts. This step was bitterly resented by the other side, 
for its effect was **to put upon my Lord of Warwick 
suddenly ere he was aware," a confiscation of the ship . 
and goods. The quarrel was henceforward irreconcilable, * 
and now became a matter of common scandal. 

Things were going none too well with the Somers 
Islands Company. Daniel Tucker, the first governor, • 
was superseded in 1619 in consequence of his constant 
disagreements with the adherents of Sir Nathaniel Rich 
and the Warwick party, and Capt. Nathaniel Butler, one 
of Warwick's followers, was sent back to the islands as 
governor; the two factions in the colony were always 
quarrelling and constant accusations were made against 
the governor of fostering pirates, most of whom seem 
to have pretended to hold commissions from the Prince 
of Orange, the familiar old commissions of the ** Sea- 
beggars." Space will not admit of an examination of 
the rights and wrongs of the case, but Butler's dealings 
with a Spanish wreck in 1621 provided specific grounds 
of complaint and Gondomar, much to the satisfaction of 
the Sandys party, appealed to the Somers Islands Com- 

46 Maneh. Pap., no. 279. 



pany** and the Privy Council for redress. This appeal 
and the news of the terrible massacre of the Virginia 
colonists that reached England in July, 1622,*' deter- 
mined the king and his ministers that something was 
radically wrong and a complete enquiry into the affairs 

• of both companies was ordered April 13, 1623. A variety 
of evidence was brought before the commission of 
enquiry, on one side by the Earl of Southampton, Lord 
Cavendish, Sir Edward Sackville, afterwards Earl of 
Dorset, Sandys, and the Ferrars, and on the other by 
the Earl of Warwick, Sir Nathaniel Bich, Sir Thomas 
Smythe, and Alderman Johnson. After a long and care- 
ful investigation, the Virginia Company's charter was 

• surrendered October 20, 1623, and the colony taken under 
the direct management of the crown, very much to its 
own benefit. Attempts were made to reopen the matter 
in the House of Commons, but these were put an end to 
by a royal message, to the general satisfaction. The 

• Somers Islands Company was permitted to continue 
along the old lines, and the struggle for control was 
maintained with varying fortunes, each succeeding treas- 
urer reversing the policy of his predecessor and sending 
out a fresh governor. 

It has been necessary to enter on this very brief out- 
line of the quarrel in the two companies, because to it 

' the genesis of the Providence Company can be traced. 
The orthodox view concerning the quarrel and the 
ensuing surrender of the Virginia Company's charter, 
as expressed by Doyle and other writers, is entirely 
hostile to the Warwick faction and represents them as 
mere tools of the court. This is far too simple an expla- 
nation of the matter, and the causes would appear to 
be more complex, for the careers both of Warwick and 

4« C. /S. P. Col., 1574-1660, p. 27. 6 Feb., 1622. 
4T Hid,, p. 31. 13 July, 1622. 



Sir Thomas Smythe are completely opposed to their 
assumed subserviency. The idea that in the two factions 
we have in embryo the parties of the Civil War" is 
almost grotesque, for in truth, as our subsequent pages 
will show, there were no more ardent opponents of an 
absolutist regime and no stronger or more definite 
Puritans than were the Earl of Warwick and Sir 
Nathaniel Bich, the so-called * * subservient tools * * of the 
court. Neither side in the quarrel could claim a 
monopoly of virtue and it is a mistake to allow the con- 
nection of the Earl of Southampton with Shakespeare, 
the legendary saintliness of the character of Nicholas 
Ferrar, or the high spirit of Sir Edwin Sandys to blind 
us to the many solid merits of Sir Thomas Smythe, Sir 
Nathaniel Bich, Gabriel Barber, and their other 

The abandonment of the West Indian trade after the 
conclusion of peace in 1604 by the more prominent Eng- 
Ush merchants did not by any means bring to an end . 
English dealings in Guiana and the Caribbean. Clan- 
destine trade was still carried on and to such an extent 
as to involve the Spanish authorities in continual anxiety. 
The vessels engaged in the trade, however, were now of 
small burthen and were equipped and set forth mainly 
from Irish ports and from Barnstaple and Dartmouth, 
where there was less likelihood of coming into conflict 
with the authorities than in ports nearer the seat of 
government. So great was the damage done to Spanish 
commerce that in 1607 the cultivation of tobacco was 
forbidden in the provinces of Caracas and Venezuela for 

4* This idea has aBtonishing vitality. In the recently published * ' England 
in America'' (Vol. 4 of The American Nation , p. 76) the author speaks of 
the * ' Court ' ' party with Sir Bobert Rich at its head, while the * ' Country ' ' 
or ** patriot" party is led by Southampton, Sandys, and Ferrar. For a 
juster view of the matter see Scott's Joint Stock Companies to 17 BO, 11^ 


ten years owing to the large numbers of English and 
Dutch who were attracted to purchase it.** Little effect 
was produced by the prohibition, for from 1610 to 1620 
the Island of Trinidad seems to have been a regular 
emporium for the illicit tobacco trade,*® and firms like 
the Beskeimers of Dartmouth, the Delbridges of Barn- 
staple, and, on a larger scale, the Courteens of Middle- 
burg made large sums in the trade. Nor did the trade 
with the Indians languish; repeated attempts to found 
English trading stations on the Guiana rivers were made 
and it has been shown" that such Dutch firms as the Cour- 
teens were building up a perfect network of trade-routes 
in the interior of South America. Leigh's colony upon 
the Wiapoco in 1604-1606 was a disastrous failure,'* but 
Sir Thomas Boe saw the beginnings of his life of adven- 
ture in a couple of years* trading (1606-1607) upon the 
Guiana coast and several of the pioneer Virginia colo- 
nists gained their experience with him in exploring the 
swamps of the Wiapoco and the Cuyuni." Bobert Har- 
court in 1608 obtained a patent from Henry, Prince of 
Wales, and set sail from Dartmouth with ninety-seven 
men to attempt a trading colony on the Wiapoco;" the 
attempt was a failure and in 1610 the remaining colonists 
were scattered among the Indians, and for eight or nine 
years subsisted in native fashion and with occasional 
supplies obtained from the Dutch." Baleigh's last voy- 
age in 1617 ended, as is well known, in utter disaster, 

«• Venezuela Papers, Add. MSS., 36319, fo. 141. Sancho de Aljuiza to the 
King. June 15, 1607. 

BO Add. MSS., 36319, passim. 

Bi G. EdmundBon, Arts, in Eng. Hist. Bev,, 1896-1903. 

52 For an account of this attempt see Purchas, XVI, 316 sqq. 

B» Smith's Works, p. 896, and Brown, Genesis of United States, I, 375, 
re Boe's voyage of 1610. 

84 Purchas, XVT, 358. 

»8 Smith, p. 897. 


but the breaking off of the Spanish negotiations in 1618 
and the downfall of the king's pro-Spanish favourites, 
the Howards, seemed to the Earl of Warwick and his 
associates a propitious opportunity to undertake the 
colonisation of Guiana in a more ambitious way than had 
before been tried. The company undertaking the project 
was largely organised by Warwick," a patent for the 
colony was obtained" and Capt. Roger North, brother 
of Lord North and Warwick's cousin, was despatched 
to Guiana with one hundred and twenty men ; there they 
joined forces with the remnant of Harcourt's colonists 
and tobacco planting was begun. But, early in 1620, 
Gondomar returned to England, the broken thread of 
negotiation for the Spanish Match was taken up, and 
on May 7, 1620," Warwick was ordered by the Privy 
Council to deliver up the conmiission on which North 
had sailed and compelled to disavow his proceedings. 
Gondomar 's protests to King James were so effective 
that on North's return to England in December, 1620, 
to secure fresh suppUes he was imprisoned in the Tower 
and his goods confiscated. His men, abandoned in Guiana, 
dispersed themselves among the Indians or joined forces 
with the Dutch. Among the colonists thus abandoned 
was one Thomas Warner," who, having remained in 
Guiana about two years, returned to England by 
way of the Caribbee Islands with two companions. 
Watering at St. Christopher on the homeward voyage, 
Warner became friendly with Togreman, the Carib chief 

s« C, 8. P, Dom,, 30 April, 1619, Locke to Carleton. 

«7 C. 8. P. Col, 30 April, 1619, p. 21. 

ss Acts of Privy Council, Col., I, 36. 

s»The outUne of Warner's proceedings in the text is based upon three 
sources of authority: Smith's account, 1629, Works, p. 898 sqq., John 
Hilton's account, 1675, Brit. Mus., Eg., 2395, fo. 503; and Sloane MSS., 
3662, fo. 45a, written by Major Scott, 1667. For a discussion of the relia- 
bility of this last authority, see Edmundson, Eng. Hist. Eev. (1901), XVI, 



of the island ; on his retum^to Englaiyl he succeeded in 
securing some capital from one Merrifield, a merchant 
interested in the clandestine West Indian trade, and with 
fourteen companions sailed at the end of 1622 for 
Virginia and thence to St. Christopher, where they 
commenced planting tobacco on January 28, 1623.*® 
Warner's small band lived in amity with the Caribs for 
some time, but difficulties at length arose, and it was 
only by a series of fortunate happenings that the infant 
colony was saved from destruction. To secure assist- 
ance against the Caribs,** Warner acquiesced in the 
division of the island between his men and a band of 
Frenchmen under D'Esnambuc, who had landed there 
not long after him. 

The breaking off of the Spanish Match in 1623 and 
Buckingham's hostility to Spain removed the difficulties 
that had lain in the way of early colonising attempts. 
The foundation of the Dutch West Indian Company in 
1621 put into practice the ideas of colonisation at the 
expense of Spain as opposed to f reebooting that Willem 
Usselincx had so long been urging and its early success 
pointed out to the general public both in England and 
France that the West Indies offered a profitable field 
for colonisation. Within a month or so of the rupture 
with Spain we find Secretary Conway proposing** that 
a colonising enterprise should be undertaken in the West 
Indies in concert with Holland in order to draw off idle 
people from the kingdom without cost to the king. In 
April, 1625, Sir John Coke proposed to the king** to 

•0 Smith, p. 900. 

«i This is the yersion of the story given in 1675 by one of the first English 
settlers. (Eg., 2395, fo. 509.) A good deal of dispute raged in 1675 about 
the whole sequence of these events, but the facts apx>ear to be as given. 
Du Tertre is our authority on the French side. 

«2 C. 8, P. Dom,, 1623, no. 64. 

•3 Ibid,, 14 April, 1625. 


incorporate a company for defence and protection in the 
West Indies and to develop English trade thither; in 
the same month Attorney General Heath drew np a 
memorandum** for Charles I, stating that it was neither 
safe nor profitable for the Spaniards and Dutch to be 
absolute lords of the West Indies and suggesting English 
intervention, either openly or underhand. Preparations 
for the war with Spain were now in full swing and any 
suggestions for weakening the Spanish power were lis- 
tened to by Charles and Buckingham with the utmost 
readiness. Among the Clarendon State Papers** there 
has been preserved a remarkable plan, presented to 
Buckingham by a fugitive Spaniard, showing how Eng- 
land, without the expenditure of much capital, might 
found an EngUsh empire in the heart of the Spanish 
Indies. There are reasons for supposing that the plan 
was introduced to Buckingham's notice by Warwick's 
mediation, and we have here probably the first germ of 
some of the ideas animating the Providence Company 
a few years later. Among the bustle of the war prepara- 
tions no steps could be taken for a West Indian expedi- 
tion, but the change of circumstances now made it easy 
for adventurous spirits to find capitalists ready to 
finance their colonising schemes. Warner returned to 
England in September, 1625, and with Ralph Merrifield 
obtained from the crown letters patent** for the colony 
of St. Christopher, and for the colonisation of Nevis, 
Barbadoes, and Montserrat ; in the same year, Capt. John 
Powell in the William and John with thirty settlers 
financed by Sir William Courteen, made the first 
permanent English settlement in Barbadoes. 
When grants and privileges had to be obtained from 

«* C. 8. p. CoL, [AprO] 1625, p. 73. 

«5 Clar. State Pap., voL I. 

M C. 8. P. Col., 1574-1660, 13 Sept., 1625. 


the crown, it was useful to have on one's side a persona 
grata at court; Merrifield and Warner succeeded in 
interesting in their cause James Hay, the Earl of 
Carlisle, and 1626 saw the grant of rights of government 
over the whole of the Caribbee Islands to the earl, who 
at once took effective steps to enforce his rights. In 
1627 he and the merchants associated with him des- 
patched several emigrants and a store of ordnanoaJta 
St. Christopher and the first English colony ' '^*^ o*3 West 
Indies was fairly launched. Courteen, not t» be ou^ 
done, secured the patronage of Lord Treasure* . y, Earl 
of Marlborough, for his colony in Barbadoes, Jutf in 
1627 a wholesale grant covering many islands was 
bestowed upon the lord chamberlain, Philip, Earl of 
Montgomery, and considerable confusion ensued. The 
further fortunes of these grants and of the colonies 
established in virtue of them need not detain us here, 
but we shall have to return to the early history of St. 
Christopher and Nevis in a later chapter. 

Between 1623 and 1628 the affairs of the Somers 
Islands Company had been steadily going from bad to 
worse; John Bernard, the governor sent out in 1622 to 
investigate Capt. Butler's proceedings, died within a 
few weeks of his arrival, and his successor, John Har- 
rison, a nominee of the Sandys faction, only held office 
for a year (1623). He was succeeded by Capt. Henry 
Woodhouse (1623-1626), and he again by Capt. Philip 
Bell, a man of good family and an adherent of the War- 
wick party. Constant complaints were received in Eng- 
land of the monopolist proceedings of the company's 
agents, who bought the planters ' produce cheap and sold 
in return the necessaries of life at exorbitant rates, while 
the company were engaged in a perpetual struggle with 
a merchant, John Delbridge of Barnstaple, who desired 
to secure the right of trade to the islands without paying 


the very high license duties demanded. The colonists at 
length in 1628 appealed to the House of Commons for 
redress and a committee of enquiry was appointed 
numbering among its members John Pym,*^ whose name 
now appears for the first time in connection with colonial 
affairs. The committee prepared a petition to the king 
in the colonists' favour, but little appears to have come 
of it save an order of the Privy Council for an abatement 
of the to^jco duty in favour of the adventurers. 

On April 28, 1629, Sir Nathaniel Rich, one of the most 
active ineiibers of the Somers Islands Company, received 
from Capt. Philip Bell, the governor of the islands, a 
long and closely written letter** of four quarto pages. 
The writer expresses grief and surprise that he had been 
blamed by the company at home without having had an 
opportunity of defending himself. He describes the 
many difficulties against which he has had to contend 
and the factions existing in Bermuda, and then proceeds 
to the main business of his letter. This is of so much 
importance in our enquiry that his words must be 
reproduced in extenso: 

Now to the main busmess I come without further interrup- 
tion, which is that two of your ships, the "Earl of Warwick'* 
and the ''Somers Islands" are now returning home again and 
in the ''Earl of Warwick" is Daniel Elfrith himself coming, 
who hath put himself out of his own ship into it because she 
hath neither captain nor master left for her safe conduct home. 
The other is furnished still with the full company that brought 
her out, though no present purchase is returned according to 
hopeful expectation, for it was unhappily lost and missed of. 
Capt. Cammock with thirty odd men is left upon an island 
called St. Andreas, which is a very fertile and hopeful place and 
such as is hoped will give the adventurers good satisfaction. 

«' C. 8. P. Coh, 19 June, 1628. 
«8 Maneh. Pap., no. 416. 


Notwithstanding his own [Elfrith's] island, which was pointed 
and aimed at, he hath yet reserved undiscovered to himself. So 
I put it only into my Lord's own hands and yours with such 
selected friends and companions as shall be thought worthy to 
be made partakers thereof. For he doth absolutely refuse and 
resolve the whole company [the Somers Is. Company] shall never 
more have to do with him, in respect of their ingratitude towards 
him for his pains and endeavors already past. 

The name of it [the island] is Kathalina and [it] lies not 
above 20 or 30 leagues from the other where his men are left, 
but it differs much from that place both in the pleasantness 
and rich fertility of the soil, and, which is very material, half 
the charge will fortify this and make it invincible, which must 
go to the other where they are. Neither indeed can that possibly 
ever be made half so strong, but which is notwithstanding hope- 
ful because freer from enemies and more out of harm's way 
and all danger.*^^ 

There is another island, called Fonceta,^^ which lies some 100 
leagues to the eastwards of the Caribbee Islands and out of 
all the Spaniards roads and ways, which by the report of some 
Indians, which once strayed from thence and could never find 
it again, as also of some seamen who once touched there and 
Daniel Elfrith did afterwards speak withal; it is one of the 
bravest and most fertile islands in the world, having according 
to the pilot three fair rivers in it, and is likewise well fortified 
and encompassed with rocks and shoals for defence against all 
enemies. This island I have set Daniel Elfrith in resolution to 
discover, which may be done in sending to the other islands 
without any further charge or trouble worth the speaking of, 
being not above 80 leagues out of the way [the way from Ber- 
muda to Santa Catalina], which in all likelihood will not be 
above four or five days' sail at the most, and so if he can find 
the island, as neither I nor himself do make any question, and if 
he find it answerable to report and our expectation, then he may 

«9 San Andreas lies further up on the great Moskito Bank than does 
Santa Oatalina. Bell means that it lies more out of the track of ships 
from Cartagena. 

70 Mythical, see below, pp. 132-134. 



atay and settle with his men and provisions there without going 
further. But if either he or the place should fail of our hopes, 
then, without any prejudice at all, he may proceed forwards to 
the island which cannot fail, and which he knows as perfectly 
as needs to be, and than this island already known none can be 
more fruitful or more hopeful, but yet it lying in the heart of 
the Indies and the mouth of the Spaniards and the other lying 
far from both, it [Ponceta] is therefore much to be preferred 
before it, and there is neither of them but in short time [could] 
be made more rich and bountiful either by tobacco or any 
other commodities than double or treble any man's estate in 
all England; though they should utterly fail of any gold or 
silver mines, which notwithstanding is very hopeful, they may 
be enriched withal. 

And as for this island, the strength and work of the land 
doth so much decrease and decay daily that in a short time it 
will be of very small value or profit, especially so much tobacco 
now being planted and being brought home of better quality 
and from richer cUmates and plantations, and I make a ques- 
tion whether this will shortly be worth anything at all. For 
my part, therefore, though I shall be willing for my credit's 
sake and the country's good, but also for the propagation of 
the Gospel and the service of my good God, to stay here yet one, 
two or three years longer if my Lord [Warwick] and yourself 
[Rich] shall think fit so to dispose and command me, yet longer 
than that same [I am] absolutely unwilling. For one year in 
one of those places will be more profitable than seven years 
here, and I am resolved that in which of those islands Daniel 
Elfrith shall settle his good liking and abode, that there will I 
settle my abode with him likewise, for out of his part of the 
land in both he hath promised a good proportion to myself as 
a portion with his daughter. 

In the way and means of proceeding I have likewise deliv- 
ered my opinion to my Lord, as first that Daniel Elfrith 's own 
advice in everything may be followed, that he may be set out in 
a ship or two belonging solely to my Lord, yourself and such 
special friends, that things may be carried and done with all 


possible secrecy. That my Lord may get the patent of Fonceta, 
or rather of both, before they be discovered, which will be easily 
obtained and will take away all the claim and opposition of 
my Lord of Carlisle or any other. And thus having contracted 
and finished my matter and room together, I will conclude all 
and myself. 

Your really affected friend and servant 

Philip Bell. 

Gov. Bell addressed this most important letter to Sir 
Nathaniel Rich as second in command and business head 
of the Warwick faction, whose connection with the Vir- 
ginia and Somers Islands companies has already been 
noticed. Their interest in colonial affairs had been 
heightened during the years 1625 to 1629 by many causes, 
and BelPs letter arrived in England at a moment when 
the future government of the English race lay in the 
balance. What were the conditions governing this critical 
position, can be most properly considered if the career 
of the head of the Warwick party, Robert Rich, second 
Earl of Warwick, is examined. 

Robert Rich, eldest son of the third Lord Rich and 
great-grandson of Richard, first Lord Rich, Chancellor 
of the Court of Augmentations to Henry VIII, after- 
wards lord chancellor, and the founder of the family 
fortunes, was bom in 1587 and educated at Emmanuel 
College, the principal Puritan college at Cambridge 
under Elizabeth, where he was a contemporary of the 
celebrated Puritan, John Preston. He represented Mal- 
don in the parliaments of 1610 and 1614, and succeeded 
his father as second Earl of Warwick in 1619. The anti- 
Spanish schemes of the Rich family rendered them dis- 
tasteful to James I, but the hitch in the negotiations for 
the Spanish Match in 1618 was marked by the bestowal 
of the earldom of Warwick upon the third Lord Rich; 


Robert Rich's strong Puritan leanings made conrt life 
distasteful to him and his attention was very early- 
directed to colonial ventures, to which he was drawn by 
his interest in the privateering enterprises of his family. 
He was, as has been shown, an active member of the 
Virginia Company and in 1614 became one of the original 
members of the Somers Islands Company. In 1618 he 
possessed fourteen shares in the company and one of the 
divisions of the islands was called Warwick Tribe in his 
honour; in 1616 he and his father fitted out two ships 
and despatched them with a Savoy conmaission^^ on a 
roving voyage to the East Indies. Their seizure of a 
ship, worth £100,000, belonging to the Great Mogul, and 
its recapture by an East India Company's ship, involved 
Rich in a long dispute with the company, but this and 
other subsequent disputes did not prevent his active 
participation in their enterprises, and we find him a 
constant attendant at the company's courts and repeat- 
edly borrowing from the stock ordnance and stores for 
his ships." 

In 1618 Warwick became one of the original members 
of the Guinea Company, newly incorporated to engage 
in the profitable traffic in African negroes. In the same 
year the Treasurer, conmianded by Daniel Elfrith, was 
fitted out and provided with a Savoy commission as a 
man-of-war. She carried to Virginia the first cargo of 
negroes ever sold there and, as we have shown, her 
arrival provided Warwick's enemies in the Virginia 
Company with one of their sharpest weapons of attack. 
They accused him of piratical dealings, but it is quite 
possible that there is some connection between the Treas- 

71 Obtained in return for a large money payment from Scamafissi, the 
agent of Charles Emmanuel I, who was then upon a money-seeking mission 
in England. 

7s C. 8. P. East Indies, 19 March^ 1627, March, 1628, March, 1629, etc. 


urer's voyage and Warwick's venture in the Guinea Com- 
pany. If this were so, the negroes might have been 
obtained in an entirely legitimate way, as Elfrith main- 
tained. At any rate, it is one of the ironies of history that 
it should have been through the agency of one and the 
same man that negroes were first introduced into British 
America and that the charter of Massachusetts, the 
foremost abolition state, was obtained. 

In 1619 Warwick took a prominent part in financing 
North's Guiana expedition, and in 1620 he was granted 
a seat in the council of the resuscitated Plymouth Com- 
pany for New England and was frequently present at its 
meetings," as was a neighbour of his. Sir John Bourchier, 
whose daughter, Elizabeth, had recently married Oliver 
Cromwell. Warwick, as the organiser of the Guiana 
Company, had for some time been in touch with Robin- 
son's congregation of Separatists at Leyden, who were 
contemplating emigration to Guiana,'* but the dissolution 
of the company turned their hopes to North Virginia, and 
thither the Mayflower sailed in August, 1620. As will 
be remembered, the accidents of the voyage compelled 
the Pilgrims to land at Plymouth in New England and 
outside the limit of the Virginia Company's patent, and 
Warwick's influence was again employed to secure from 
the Council for New England a patent for the land on 
which the new settlement was founded." It is another 
striking fact in Warwick's career that he was the only 
person of high rank and influence connected with all the 
bodies with whom the Leyden pilgrims negotiated before 
they could secure a home for themselves in the New 
World. He was a member of the Guiana Company, the 

7s * < Becords of Council for New England. ' ' Printed in Proceedings of 
American Antiquarian Society for 1867 and 1875. 

74 Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (ed. Ford, 1912), I, 61-62. 
76 June 1, 1621. 


Virginia Company, and the Council for New England, 
and it was he who, as president of the last of these, 
obtained the grant of the second Plymouth patent on 
January 13, 1630/* 

The breach with Spain in 1623 threw George Villiers, 
Duke of Buckingham, the all-powerful favourite of 
James and Charles, on to the side of the anti-Spanish 
and Puritan party and in 1625 he became an adventurer 
along with Warwick for the discovery of the Northwest 
Passage." This alliance of Buckingham with the Puri- 
tans was marked by Warwick's appointment as lord 
lieutenant of Essex; his brother Henry had been since 
1618 in high favour at court and was one of Bucking- 
ham's most intimate friends. In 1623 Henry was 
created Baron Kensington, was sent with Carlisle to 
France in 1624 to arrange Charles's marriage with 
Louis Xni's sister, Henrietta Maria, and on his return 
was created Earl of Holland. Holland henceforward 
became the queen's mouthpiece in English politics and 
was always hostile to the Spanish party at court. War- 
wick's connection with the court was shortlived; he 
sided against Buckingham in the parliament of 1626 and 
in November joined with Lord Saye, the Earl of 
Lincoln, and other Puritan peers in refusing to pay the 
forced loan that was the king's expedient for financing 
the war. The value of the Rich navy, however, was so 
great that in March, 1627, a very full commission was 
issued to Warwick authorising him to undertake hostili- 
ties against the Spaniards, the commission^' being 

7< Bradford (1908 edition), p. 248 and note; (Ford, ed., 1912), II, 69-70. 

T7 C. 8. P. Dom., April, 1625. 

7« C. S. P. Dom,, 18 Mar., 1627. Bequest from Secretary Coke to Attorney 
General Heath to prepare for the Earl of Warwick such a commission as 
was granted by Queen Elizabeth to the Earl of Cumberland. For enlarge- 
ment, ▼. ibid., 17 April, 1627. The exact bearing of this and some of the 
other commissions of the period upon the prize law of the time is dealt 


modelled on the lines of Queen Elizabeth's conuuission 
to the Earl of Cumberland. By an enlargement of the 
commission in April, 1627, Warwick was authorised to 
invade or possess any of the dominions of the king of 
Spain or the archdukes in Europe, Africa, or America, 
but the issue of this commission was not at all well 
received by the court party and we find Secretary 
Nicholas writing in the following October that Lord 
Warwick's commission would never have passed had it 
not been for the puzzle of the great preparations then 
in hand for the Rochelle expedition/* 

In pursuance of this commission Warwick, with the 
aid of some London merchants,*^ fitted out a fleet of eight 
ships and put to sea in the hope of capturing the Brazil 
fleet. He failed in his attempt and himself narrowly 
escaped capture, while his financial resources were badly 
crippled. In 1628 and 1629 he sent out more ships and 
took prizes both from the Spaniards and from the 
Genoese, which brought him little profit but involved 
him in legal disputes that were unsettled for many years. 
Among other ships he despatched the Earl of Warwick 
and the Somers Islands to the West Indies on the voyage 
that is referred to in Capt. Bell's letter. Warwick did 
not stand alone in these ventures, but may be regarded 
as the head of a clan, composed on the one hand of his 
own relatives and adherents and on the other of a body of 
powerful London merchants. We have seen the clan in 
action in the disputes of the Virginia Company, and 
during the years that had since elapsed, the group had 

with in an article on ''Early Prize Law," by Mr. B. G. Marsden in the 
English Historical Review for April, 1910. 

7» C. 8, P. Dom,, 25 Oct., 1627. Nicholas 's Letter Book, p. 64. 

•oCoke MSS., Hist. M8S. Comm., Twelfth Report, App'x, p. 297. War- 
wick to Sir John Coke, "I agreed with Mr. Attorney and the Judge of 
the Admiralty upon a commission and shewed it to divers merchants, my 
partners, who have come in and adventured their money." 


been further cemented together by the growing unity 
of feeling in the Puritan party. The intimate business 
alliance of such members of the Upper House as War- 
wicky Saye, and Brooke with great London merchants is 
prominent throughout our pages and we must recognize 
that these commercial bonds are of great importance 
in the history of the time, as rendering it easier for great 
nobles and wealthy country gentlemen to unite with the 
city merchants and to work side by side with them in 
the constitutional struggle against the crown. Such a 
union would have been impossible at an earUer period. 



To appreciate justly the causes governing the course 
of colonial events in the momentous years 1628-1629 is 
impossible without some realisation of the general pos- 
ture of affairs in England and Europe at the time and 
to this we must for a moment turn our attention. The 
high hopes with which the nation had welcomed the 
accession of the debonair young king and had taken 
up arms once more against the hated Spaniards, had 
crumbled under disaster after disaster. The Cadiz 
expedition had ended in demoralisation and disgrace, 
the vaunted French alliance had been frittered away 
in ignoble squabbles and had resulted in naught but 
the use of English ships against Protestant Rochelle; 
nothing had been done to aid the King of Denmark in 
delivering the persecuted churches of Bohemia and the 
Palatinate, while the expeditions for the relief of those 
Rochellois whom England had encouraged in their 
resistance to their king, had returned each a more 
broken, more diseased, and more disgraceful failure than 
the last though Rochelle was slowly starving to death 
with a shuddering dread of the vengeance of Richelieu 
in a final sack. Nor were home affairs in a more hopeful 
condition; the incompetence of the government was 
flagrant, but its demands for money were unceasing and 
those who refused its forced loans were imprisoned 
without trial or banished from their homes. The 


countryside swarmed with unpaid and mutinous soldiery, 
torn from their parishes by the press-gang and billeted 
on all below the rank of gentleman. Robbery and out- 
rage aflSicted their unwilling hosts, and no redress could 
be obtained ; yet while the poor were thus oppressed and 
the rich were fleeced without warrant of law, the religious 
feelings of some of the most upright members of the 
conununity were wounded by the silencing of the Calvin- 
istic lectures and pamphleteers ; the protagonists of the 
Arminians received preferment to the highest dignities 
in the church, and the penalties against recusants re- 
mained a dead letter to please the queen and her brother, 
the king of France, though the countries were at open 
war. Never in English history had the government faced 
so united an opposition as when Charles I's third parlia- 
ment opened in March, 1628, but never did a monarch 
fail so to realise his position. For two months the debate 
of grievances went on behind the closed doors of parlia- 
ment, while to conunon men the outlook was becoming 
ever blacker. 

It was during these months of gloom that there were 
passed from hand to hand the suggestions of one of the 
most respected Puritan divines, John White of Dorches- 
ter, for the founding of a refuge in another land for 
God's oppressed people, where a bulwark might be 
raised *' against the Mngdom of Anti-Christ which the 
Jesuits labour to rear up in all quarters of the world.'* 
White had been connected before with a colonising effort 
in New England of some Dorchester merchants and the 
treasurer of this defunct company, John Humphry, 
brother-in-law of the Earl of Lincoln, determined to 
obtain from the Earl of Warwick, who Avas now beginning 
to be looked up to as the head of the Puritans, a grant 
of land in New England whereon he and others inter- 
ested in carrying out White's new project might found 


their settlement. In June, 1623, the Council for New 
England, finding it impossible to secure capital or set- 
tlers for their territory, had decided^ to divide the whole 
region into twenty shares to be distributed by lot among 
; those of the council who had paid in capital to the stock. 
On June 29, 1623, the drawing had taken place in the 
presence of King James, and Warwick had drawn as 
his share the region round Massachusetts Bay.' It was 
this tract that Warwick granted by patent to John 
Humphry, John Endecott, and their associates on 
March 19, 1628.' Endecott sailed on his first voyage to 
New England in June and the colonisation of Massa- 
chusetts began, almost unnoticed amidst the national 

The great Commons' debate on grievances that ended 
on the twenty-eighth of May, 1628, in the presentation 
to the king of the Petition of Right, was marked by a 
crystallisation of the Puritan party in parliament into 
a form that had great influence upon the after course of 
events. It was the extreme Puritans who were respon- 
sible for the final mould in which the Petition was cast, 
and it is most noticeable that the men forming the inner 
ring of the party were closely united one with another 
by ties of relationship and sincere friendship. Warwick, 
Saye, and Lincoln were the exponents of the popular 
policy in the Lords; Sir John Eliot, the leader of the 
Commons, was united to Warwick by close bonds,* while 
Sir Nathaniel Rich, John Pym, Sir Benjamin Rudyerd, 
and Sir Gilbert Gerrard were all, as we shall show later, 

1 ' ' Records of Council for New England^ ' * Proceedings of Amer. Antiq. 
Soc. for 1875, p. 49. 

3 See the map in Alexander's Encouragemeiii to Colonies, 1624. 

> C. S, P. Col, 19 March, 1628. See also Massachusetts Colonial Records, 
29 Sept., 1629. 

^Forster's Life of Elioi, II, 64, 72, 642. See also Bagg's letters to the 
Privy Council, e.g. C. 8. P. Dom,, 20 April, 1620. 


intimately linked together and all took important parts 
in the struggle. For more than a week after the presen- 
tation of the Petition, the issue hung in the balance, but 
at last on the seventh of June the king yielded and the 
Petition of Eight became the law of the land. To the 
lighter hearted it seemed as though the threatened 
liberties of England were safe, but the leaders realised 
that there was still much to be done, and, without an 
instant's delay, they proceeded to attack the king's 
Arminian religious policy, the illegal levying of tonnage 
and poundage, and, worst of all, the ministerial acts of 
Buckingham. So vehement were the remonstrances 
addressed to him that, in anger and disgust at what he 
thought their base ingratitude, Charles prorogued the 
parliament on the 26th with a speech of cutting severity. 
The hopes of early June were dashed and once more 
gloom settled down on Puritan hearts, saddened and 
revolted as they were by the king's ostentatious bestowal 
of preferment upon the Arminian prelates. For a 
moment the gloom was lightened by a somewhat untimely 
rejoicing at Felton's murder of the favourite, but the 
news from Germany was not encouraging, as Wallenstein 
drove Christian of Denmark, the champion of Protes- 
tantism, to his island fastnesses in utter rout. Bochelle 
at last lay prone, her walls dismantled, her merchants 
beggared, and her treasured Huguenot liberties gone 
at the bidding of the ruthless cardinal. Everywhere 
absolutism and Catholicism seemed triumphant and 
many an earnest. God-fearing man trembled as he feared 
that ere long the queen and Laud would bring Protestant 
England once more under the power of the Roman see. 
The publication in December of the ** Declaration 
touching Public Worship, ' ' was regarded by the Puritans 
as granting license to the Arminians for far-reaching 
innovations in religion, while the feelings of the mer- 



chants were outraged by the govemment 's high-handed 
proceedings in the conflict over Chambers's obstinate 
refusals to pay the illegal tonnage and poundage. Once 
more, with the opening of the new year, the public gaze 
was fixed upon the doors that guarded the central scene 
in the great struggle. Parliament met again on January 
20, 1629, and the Commons under Eliot's leadership at 
once vehemently assailed the ** Declaration, ' ' and put 
forward in a series of resolutions against popery and 
Arminianism their own conception of the type of uni- 
formity to be demanded for the church. For more than 
a month the debates raged round the resolutions and the 
religious grievances they were meant to remedy, while 
Charles endeavoured in vain to divert attention to the 
less thorny question of finance. Eliot, with even more 
intemperate words, refused to be turned from his chosen 
path and though many lesser members would have 
debated the threatening action of the courts against 
their own treasured freedom from arrest, he persisted 
in recalling their attention to the larger question of the 
national liberties, until at length the king's slender 
patience was at end. Never had a more moving scene 
been witnessed in the Commons' House than on that 
second of March, 1629, when Speaker Finch announced 
His Majesty's pleasure that the House should then 
adjourn. On aU sides rose angry murmurs against the 
order; in flat defiance of it the doors were locked and, 
though Finch did his courtly best to obey his royal 
master's conunands, the leaders were resolved on vio- 
lence rather than be baulked of their will. While the 
trembling speaker was held in his chair, and the weaker 
members cowered weeping in their seats, it was resolved 
that whoever should bring in innovations in religion, 
should introduce popery or Arminianism, or should pay 
tonnage or poundage, should be reputed a traitor and a 


capital enemy to the commonwealth. The doors were 
opened, the speaker released, and to all men it seemed 
as though the established parliamentary privileges of 
England were at an end ; Eliot, Selden, and other leaders 
were committed to the Tower. 

**The increasing of our sins gives us great cause to 
look for some heavy scourge and judgment to be coming 
upon us, ' ' wrote John-Winthrop a few days later.* * ' My 
dear wife, I am verily persuaded God will bring some 
heavy aflSiction upon this land, and that speedily; but 
if the Lord seeth it will be good for us, he will provide 
a shelter and a hiding-place for us and others, as a Zoar 
for Lot, a Sarephthah for his prophet.'' What wonder 
that at such a time White 's message of hope should find 
an echo in Puritan hearts, and that God's people ** should 
turn with eyes of longing to the free and open spaces of 
the New World, whither they might flee to be at peace. 

The summer of 1629 was filled with events of the 
utmost importance to colonial history. Though only the 
leaders had been imprisoned for their share in the 
Conunons' scene, every member of the Puritan party, 
both great and small, was made to feel the displeasure 
of the government. It was impossible to deprive Sir 
Benjamin Rudyerd of the lucrative oflSce of surveyor of 
the Court of Wards, which had been granted him for 
life in his courtier days, but lesser Puritans might be 
attacked more easily. John Humphry had long been 
an attorney of the Court of Wards and a noticeable 
Puritan and now both he and his colleague, John Win- 
throp, the Puritan squire of Groton in Suffolk, were 
deprived of their oflSces.* This apparently unimportant 
removal was in truth of tremendous import, for in 
Winthrop at last was found the man who was needed 

» London, 15 May, 1629, Life and Letters of Winthrop, I, 296. 
• June, 1629, Life of Winthrop, I, 298. 


to convert the aspirations of the Puritans into realities. 
Winthrop, a man already of middle age, had been 
aflSicted during the past year (1628) with a succession 
of bereavements that had disillusioned him with life in 
England and had turned his thoughts to the proposals 
for migration that were occupying the minds of his 
friends. The Massachusetts Bay Company had received 
the sanction of a royal charter in March, 1629, and in 
July^ Winthrop and his brother-in-law, Emmanuel 
Downing, rode down to Sempringham, the Kesteven seat 
of the Earl of Lincoln, to talk over their plans of joining 
the company. 

Theophilus Fiennes-Clinton, fourth Earl of Lincoln, 
who was descended from a distant branch of the great 
Fiennes family that held the ancient peerage of Saye 
and Sele, was the most earnest Puritan among the peers, 
and his seat at Sempringham was the central point where 
were discussed the projects for a Puritan migration. 
Lincoln was married to Bridget Fiennes, daughter of 
Viscount Saye, and his sister, Lady Susan Fiennes- 
Clinton, was the wife of John Humphry, who had long 
been interested in White's colonising projects. Hum- 
phry had succeeded in imparting this interest to 
Lincoln and to Isaac Johnson, who was married to 
another of Lincoln's sisters. Winthrop found the whole 
society assembled at Sempringham and, though we have 
no account of the discussions that ensued, it in certain 
that the affairs of the Massachusetts Bay Company must 
have been talked over. Among Lincoln 's dependents was 
his distant kinsman, Thomas Dudley, a man of an 
earnest and almost fanatical Puritan temper. Together 
he, John Humphry, Isaac Johnson, and Winthrop came 
to the momentous decision to cast off the dust of Eng- 

7 July, 1629, Life of Winthrop, I, 304. 


land from their feet and throw in their lot with the 
Massachusetts Bay Company. In this same critical 
week Matthew Cradock, the governor, had suggested to 
the members of the company the entire transfer of the 
government to America, and on the twenty-sixth of 
August* it was resolved in a full meeting at Cambridge, 
that this step should be taken. Twelve members of the 
company, including Sir Richard Saltonstall, John 
Humphry, and Winthrop, announced their intention of 
leaving England to settle on American shores, and all 
of them took immediate steps in preparation for their 
voyage. From this point onwards Winthrop began to 
take the lead in the company's affairs, a lead at once 
marked by a decision and a statesmanUke foresight in 
marked contrast to the timorous conservatism of 
Matthew Cradock. 

The importance of all these happenings from the point 
of view of our immediate subject is that every step 
taken by the Massachusetts* emigrants was taken in 
concert with and often upon the advice of those veteran 
colonisers, the Earl of Warwick and Sir Nathaniel Rich. 
It is hardly likely that the idea of migration to America 
can have been thoroughly shaped as early as April, 1629, 
when BelPs letter® reached Sir Nathaniel Rich, but the 
idea was gradually taking shape and it must have been 
within the critical months of June and July that that 
decision was reached. Two courses lay open to the 
emigrants. On the one hand, they might sail towards 
what were then regarded as the bleak and inhospitable 
shores of North Virginia, where so many attempts at 
colonisation had been made to end only in disaster, and 
where the Pilgrims at Plymouth were even then strug- 
gling with small success against the hardships of their 

» lAfe of Winthrop, I, 344. 
» F. tUT^a, pp. 31-34. 



lot. On the other hand, they might guide their course 
toward the fertile islands of the Caribbean that were 
described so glowingly by Capt. Bell. 

Warwick had every reason to counsel the colonists 
towards the latter course, and, though he was willing to 
aid them whatever their choice should be, we cannot 
doubt that it was southward he wished them to sail. 
His ventures of late years had met with little success and 
there was here the prospect of retrieving loss and at the 
same time of providing another home for his discon- 
tented proteges in Bermuda. The colonisation of St. 
Christopher and Barbadoes under the protection of 
Lords Carlisle and Marlborough, both members of the 
court party and both personally hostile to the Riches," 
can have been no more acceptable to Warwick and his 
friends than was the success of Sir William Courteen, 
Thomas Warner, and Ralph Merrifield, to his merchant 
associates. The knowledge that fertile islands were 
awaiting settlement in the heart of the West Indies, and 
that they could be fortified with ease, must have been 
welcome news to so strong a hater of Spain as was War- 
wick. Here at last appeared a chance of redeeming the 
failure of his naval enterprise of 1627 and the general ill 
success of the Spanish war, here was a chance of carry- 
ing on the glorious traditions o^ the Elizabethan age and 
of putting once and for all that bit in the ancient enemy's 
mouth, that had so long been the dream of all patriotic 
Englishmen. It is easy for us to commend Winthrop's 

10 A personal coolness had existed between the Bich familj and James 
Hajr, Earl of Carlisle, since his quarrel with Lord Holland while thej were 
fellow envoys in Paris in 1624. Onlj with difficulty had a duel then been 
prevented. The statement of Clarendon that Holland and Carlisle were good 
friends is no contradiction of our view, as it applies to a later period and 
the friendship can, at beet, have been only superficial. The rivalry between 
Warwick and the Carlisle interests was an important factor in West Indian 
affairs as late, at any rate, as 1648. 


neglect of advice and to deride those who gave it and 
for ten years contended that his choice had been wrongly 
made, but in 1629 the colonial empires of every power, 
save Spain, were still to make, and all experience pointed 
to the shores of a summer sea as those whereon colon- 
ising success could alone be obtained. 

The Stuart age witnessed many departures from the 
ancient ways, but the one that marks more definitely, 
perhaps, than any other, the period as modem, has not 
always received the attention it deserves. For the first 
time we find men of the middle class, who were neither 
great lawyers nor churchmen and who had had no train- 
ing in the narrow circle of oflScialdom, printing deep the 
impress of their personality upon the national destinies. 
Just as Pym and Cromwell were sprung from that upper 
middle class that has done such great things for the 
world, so in the birth throes of the Massachusetts 
commonwealth the critical decision was made, and made 
aright, by the obscure Suffolk squire, while the great 
noble, skilled and cautious though he was, was hopelessly 
wrong. The Massachusetts migration was an event 
entirely without precedent in the modern world; Vir- 
ginia, Newfoundland, and Guiana had attracted merely 
the adventurers and the needy; the Mayflower pilgrims, 
though later ages have glorified them, were too few in 
number, too humble in station, and too far removed from 
the main currents of English life to be of importance; 
but now sober, well-to-do men of middle age, to whom 
the spirit of adventure was entirely foreign, were con- 
templating a transfer of themselves, their families, and 
their goods to new homes across the seas, there to found 
not a colony but a commonwealth. At such a crisis the 
caution, the experience, and the knowledge of past 
failures of the man of affairs stand ranged against the 
fervour, the enthusiasm, and the hope in the future of 


the new man; Warwick and Rich well knew the diffi- 
culties to be contended with and preferred to move along 
the well-marked lines of policy; Winthrop and White, 
guided as they felt by a Higher Power, were resolved 
upon a course that was new. The men of the future had 
their way and the great human stream was directed to 
the New England shore. 

Though we are unable to examine in detail the discus- 
sions that went on between Warwick and his associates 
concerning the designs suggested in Bell's letter, we find 
that by September, 1629, they were complete, and that 
it had been resolved to put the project into immediate 
execution.'^ The total cost of the equipment of this 
pioneer expedition was about two thousand pounds and 
this had been provided by the Earl of Warwick, Sir 
Nathaniel Rich (£275), Gabriel Barber (£250), John 
Dyke, and (Jregory (Jawsell. An account of these men 
will be given when we come to deal with the membership 
of the company as a whole. The arrangements for the 
voyage were entrusted to Dyke, who engaged artificers 
and mariners, purchased provisions and tools, and se- 
cured from the Admiralty letters of marque for two ships. 
A pinnace of eighty tons burthen was entrusted to the 
command of Daniel Elf rith and the bark Warwick to that 
of John Tanner. Daniel Elfrith^^ had been engaged for 
many years in the contraband West Indian trade ; he first 
appears as an officer serving under Capt. Fisher on a 
voyage of discovery to Ouiana in 1614. He was put as 
master into a captured Spanish caravel with a cargo of 

11 Our main authority from this point onwards is the Providence records. 
Though Sainsburjr's calendar of them is very full in places, he makes many 
mistakes and entirely misapprehends certain letters. We shall refer here 
only to the records themselves. 

12 For the early career of Elf rith see Brown, 11, 885. Brown's account 
of his later life is misleading owing to the confusion of Old and New 


meal and brought her to Bermuda in 1615 just in time 
to save the colony from famine, but her coming was by 
no means an unmixed blessing, for she brought into the 
islands a plague of rats that took years to eradicate/* 
Elfrith was accused of securing the vessel in the West 
Indies by dishonest means and, though he stoutly main- 
tained his innocence, he was sent home to England a 
prisoner." He soon vindicated himself and in 1618 he 
again arrived in Bermuda as master of the ship Treas- 
urer on his way to the West Indies. Tucker, the governor 
of the colony, who was on the point of departure for 
England, suspected that Elfrith was bound roving and 
warned the colonists to have nothing to do with him. 
No heed was paid to this warning and Elfrith was 
received with every kindness.^*^ He reached Virginia on 
his return voyage in the late summer of 1619 in consort 
with a Flushing privateer and with a hundred negroes 
he is said to have captured from a Spanish vessel ; some 
of these he disposed of to the planters and they were the 
first of Virginia *s negro servants ; the rest he carried on 
to Bermuda, where his ship, the Treasurer, was broken 
up as unserviceable by command of the governor, Capt. 
Nathaniel Butler. We have seen in a previous chapter 
how much commotion this voyage caused in England. 
Elfrith seems now to have settled in Bermuda on the 
Earl of Warwick's land, which he worked with the aid 
of the earl's negroes. From 1623 onwards he was a 
member of the council,^' but he did not agree well with the 
governor, Henry Woodhouse. He appears to have main- 
tained that the governor was lining his own pockets with 

i» Smith's Virginia, p. 125. 
1* V, 9upra, p. 21. 
IB Smith, p. 666. 

i« Sir J. H. Lef rojr 's Memorials of the Bermudas is our authority for this 


public funds and in September, 1625, he was arraigned 
before the council on a charge of sedition, which was 
the graver as he had been suspected of complicity in a 
plot against Gov. Butler in 1622. He was compelled to 
make abject submission, but on the removal of Wood- 
house from the governorship in 1626, this submission 
was removed from the records. During 1626 and 1627 
he was acting on the council, was an oflScer of the prin- 
cipal fort or King's Castle, and was looking after the 
boats belonging to the colony. He returned to England 
late in 1627. 

In February, 1628, the Earl of Warwick and his asso- 
ciates, in virtue of his commission of April, 1627, des- 
patched three ships on a privateering voyage to the 
West Indies, making Bermuda their rendezvous. These 
vessels were the Earl of Warwick of eighty tons, master, 
Sussex Camock, the Somers Islands of about one hundred 
tons, master, John Rose, and the Robert of fifty tons, 
master, Daniel Elfrith." The voyage was not very suc- 
cessful and Camock with some thirty men was left 
behind on the island of San Andreas. Elf rith took com- 
mand of the Earl of Warwick for the voyage home, 
handing over the command of the Robert to John Tanner. 
They reached England about the end of April, 1629, 
armed as we have seen with Gov. Bell's conmiendation 
of the projects Elf rith had formed on the voyage. 

The letters of marque for the new expedition for the 
occupation of Santa Catalina were issued on September 
28, 1629,^* and the ships set sail on the second week of 
October. It had been decided that it would be best to 
establish a colony firmly on Santa Catalina before 
undertaking the more doubtful design upon Fonseca; 
Elfrith therefore sailed direct to Bermuda and after a 

17 p. B. O. Register Book of Letters of Marque, 1628. 

18 Ihid., 1629. 


few days' stay, thence to the Caribbean, which was 
entered by the Windward Passage. The ships called 
first at San Andreas, where it was found that the greater 
part of Camock's company had left the island in a Dutch 
ship, though a few, of whom George Needham was the 
chief, had remained to plant tobacco. After a day or 
two's stay Elfrith proceeded on his voyage and reached 
Santa Catalina about Christmas, 1629. A start was at 
once made on the preparations for the reception of the 
main body of colonists, who were expected from Bermuda 
early in the spring of 1630. The harbour of Santa Cata- 
lina lies to the northwest of the island and is approached 
by two narrow entrances well-guarded by rocks; on the 
north it is sheltered by a peninsula joined to the main 
island in 1630 by a narrow neck of land." The point of 
this peninsula is a flat-topped bluff, some forty feet 
above sea-level, and on this bluff it was decided to erect 
the first fort, called in honour of the expedition 's patron, 
Warwick Fort. The hills make a bold sweep round the 
eastern and southern sides of the harbour, ascending 
into three noticeable peaks, now called respectively Split 
Hill (550 feet). Fairway Hill, and the Mound (700 feet) ; 
the central peak of the island lies to the southward and 
reaches a height of one thousand one hundred and sixty 
feet. Between the hills and the harbour there is a flat 
plain and this was chosen as the site of the first settle- 
ment ; houses were first erected on the neck of land close 
to the water's edge, the infant town being called in 
honour of the company. New Westminster. On the 
arrival of the expedition the island was found to be 
uninhabited save for a few Dutchmen, who were received 
as comrades and in their turn aided the settlers in their 

19 This neck of land was not pierced by the buccaneers tiU about 1670, 
though Gapt. Budjrerd had advised the step as early as 1634 in order to 
make the peninsula into a kind of citadel. 


preparations; under Elfrith's directions the planters 
chose such plots of ground in the immediate vicinity of 
the harbour as they fancied, and at once started clearing 
them and planting tobacco. No difficulties were en- 
countered in this work, for the dry season in the island 
lasts from January to May and there is almost always 
an abundance of fresh water to be obtained. The work 
of building the fort was entrusted to the direction of 
Samuel Axe, a soldier who had seen service in the Eng- 
lish contingents in the Netherlands and had there learned 
some of the principles of fortification. The spot he had 
selected for the fort was well chosen, as it commanded 
the main entrance to the harbour, and timber for its 
construction could be obtained close at hand. Its dis- 
advantage lay in its distance from a supply of fresh 
water, but as the only attack was to be expected from 
the sea, this was not much of a drawback. 

Elfrith and Tanner set sail again from Providence 
about the end of February, 1630, leaving Axe as deputy 
governor of the island; a direct course was steered for 
Bermuda, where Bell during their absence had been 
making arrangements with his adherents for the migra- 
tion. He had retired from the governorship in December 
and was succeeded by Capt. Roger Wood, the late secre- 
tary, but he still retained his seat upon the council, as 
did Elfrith. The new colony must have been an engross- 
ing topic in Bermuda throughout the winter, and Bell 
was spoken hardly of for his desertion ; these strictures 
he was by no means ready to submit to and at a council 
on February 9, 1630, we find him bringing forward what 
he called the scandalous statements of a Mr. Ewer, who 
was compelled to apologize humbly for them. According 
to the bad precedent set in the case of previous govern- 
ors, attempts were made to bring Bell to book for acts 
done during his governorship. He pleaded the prece- 


dent of immunity that had been established when he 
succeeded Woodhouse in 1626, this having been sanc- 
tioned by an order of the Somers Islands Company 
bearing date of November 28, 1627. The majority of 
the council maintained that this precedent did not apply 
as Woodhouse in 1627 had left the islands for England, 
whereas Bell was going to Santa Catalina and would be 
out of the company's jurisdiction; he was therefore com- 
pelled to give security to answer all such things as should 
be brought against him either by the inhabitants of the 
Somers Islands or by the company in England. Elfrith 
also was compelled to give account to his successor, Capt. 
Saile, of the things that had been under his charge in 
the King's Castle and was closely examined concerning 
the disposal of a cargo of tobacco jointly owned by sev- 
eral planters, that he had taken with him on his last 
voyage to England. 

It had been decided that only men should be taken to 
Santa Catalina in the first instance and some difficulties 
were placed in the way of those who wished to leave 
their dependents behind in Bermuda. ^^ Miles Port being 
desirous to go to St. Catulina, it was thought fit to be 
considered whether or no he should go without his wife 
and being put to question at the Council table, the Gov- 
ernor and all the Council did consider, (excepting Capt. 
Bell and Capt. Elfrith) that he should not go without 
her. ' ' Miles Port had therefore to abandon the voyage. 
The men accompanying the expedition mainly belonged 
to the planting class with only a few servants; they 
arranged with the planters remaining in Bermuda to 
send over a further supply of servants later. It is 
impossible to say whether Bell married Elfrith 's daugh- 
ter before his departure from Bermuda or after, but 
he is spoken of as Elfrith 's son-in-law in letters from 
England in February, 1631, so that the marriage must 


have taken place before August, 1630. Bell and Elfrith 
took their seats at the Bermuda council table for the 
last time on April 13, 1630, and sailed for Santa Cata- 
lina before the next council meeting in May. A few days 
after their departure there arrived fresh supplies of 
provisions, etc., for the new colony, which Elfrith had 
arranged before leaving England; these were too late 
and had to be left in the Somers Islands till the following 

While these events were taking place oversea, the 
organisers of the enterprise in England had not been 
idle. Rumours that the Earl of Warwick was engaged 
in some new venture in the West Indies had begun to 
spread abroad and the diarist, John Rous, records under 
date August 24, 1629, **News of an island, 20 miles long 
and 10 broad, discovered by a captain sent out by the Earl 
of Warwick.'"" On 16 February, 1630, he notes, *^The 
ships be set to sea for New England and for a plantation 
near Mexico, ut dicitur/'^^ Although the news that some- 
thing was afoot had thus to some extent leaked out, 
nothing definite was known outside Warwick's imme- 
diate circle, for it had been determined to fall in with 
Bell *s suggestion and to keep the new enterprise entirely 
in the hands of the Earl and his usual financial associates 
together with a few members of the inner circle of the 
Puritan party. Subscriptions were invited privately 
during the summer of 1630 and by the early autumn the 
company was practically complete. It was impossible 
to hold any meetings of the adventurers as a whole until 

20 Camden Soc, Diary of John Sous, p. 43. Rous was rector of Stanton 
Downham in Suffolk and was in a position to learn the gossip of the Earl 
of Warwick's tenantry as we may find from the entry of 13 October, 1629. 
' * The news was brought to Lees by the Earl of Warwick 's coachman, who 
returned from the Earl at London that day, that the Earl was like to have 
a great prise of 6 ships of the silver fleet. ' ' 

21 This was the second supply, sent to Bermuda and missed by Elfrith. 


November, for London and the country generally were 
suffering from one of those periodical visitations of the 
plague** that were so frequent down to the middle of the 
seventeenth century. The plague had been raging in 
the north of France and in Holland throughout the 
suDMuer of 1629" and many precautions were taken to 
preserve England from infection but in vain. The first 
cases in London were reported early in April" and before 
the end of the month the capital was so infected that all 
those able to do so were taking steps to leave it for the 
country.** Pym, for instance, had been intending to take 
Barrington Hall for the summer, but Sir Thomas Bar- 
rington wrote to his mother in May, '*My wife, out of 
her provident care of yourself and us, thinks that fear 
of the sickness dispersing is cause enough to keep that 
house free for a refuge.*'** So much had the ravages 
of the plague dislocated affairs that the christening 
of the infant Prince Charles in June was announced 
throughout the country by proclamation instead of by 
heralds, as was the custom in such cases,*^ while the 
festivities themselves were hastened through as much as 
possible. In August Saint Bartholomew Fair and South- 
wark Fair were prohibited by proclamation for fear of 
infection, while London was practically deserted by peo- 
ple of rank, and business was at a standstill. By the 
end of October, however, the worst was over in London, 
and November saw the usual current of life resumed, 
though in many couiities, where infection still existed 

s'For this Tisitation of the plague and its destructive effects at Cam- 
bridge, T. MasBon *s MUion, II. 

w C. 8. P. Dom., 16 Oct., 1629. 

s« Ihid., 10 April, 1630. 

«» Ihid. 

M Hist. M8S. Comm., Seventh Beport, App 'x, Sir T. B. to Ladj Joan B. 
Maj, 1630. 

«T C. 8. P. Dom,, 15 June, 1630. 


as late as Christmas^ the usual autumn musters were 

As soon as it was possible to assemble in London with 
any reasonable safety, Warwick took steps to gather his 
friends together and the first meeting of adventurers in 
the new company took place at Brooke House in Hol- 
bom" on the 19th of November; definite and immediate 
action was decided upon and on the 4th of December 
the patent was sealed granting formal incorporation to 
the company by the style of **The Governor and Com- 
pany of Adventurers of the City of Westminster for the 
plantation of the Islands of Providence, Henrietta, and 
the adjacent islands lying upon the coast of America.'' 

The propositions for the formation of the company 
that had been circulated during the summer of 1630,** 
had mentioned £200 as the amount of the first adventure 
and some portion of this had been paid in before Novem- 
ber by most of the adventurers. The amount necessary 
to complete this adventure money of £200 in each case 
is given against the name of each adventurer on the 
first page of the company's journal and we are thus 
provided with a complete list of the original members : 

ss Brooke House, the usoal meeting place of the company, laj in what was 
then a fashionable quarter, at the comer of Gray's Inn Lane and Holbom 
and immediately opposite the still-existing Staple's Inn; Brooke Street and 
Greville Street were built upon its site before the beginning of the eight- 
eenth century. The locality is curiously identified by an entry in C. 8. P. 
Dam,, 1633, p. 164. A spy who had been set to watch Lords Saye and 
Brooke, suspected of too great familiarity with the Dutch ambassador, sat 
in the gateway of Staple's Inn for some time to watch the ambassador 
come out from Brooke House. Other meeting places of the company were 
Warwick House, a little further west along Holbom, and Sir Gilbert Ger- 
rard's or Mr. Pym's lodgings, both of which were then in Gray's Inn Lane. 
Jessop, the secretary, was a member of and had chambers in Gray's Inn 

>• None of these letters have been discovered, but it has been possible to 
arrive at their import from references in the records. 



19 November, 1630 already paid 


Earl of Warwick 100 

Earl of Holland — 

Lord Saye and Sele .... 100 

Lord Brooke — 

Jno. Bobartes, Esq — 

Sir Benjamin Rudyerd, E[nt. 125 

Sir Gilbert Gerrard, Bart. . . 100 

Sir Edward Harwood, Knt. . . 100 

Sir Nathaniel Rich, Knt. . . 125 

Sir Edmond Moundef ord, Knt. . 100 

Jno. Pjrm, Esq 125 

Richard Knightley, Esq. . . . 125 

Jno. Gnrdon, Esq 100 

Gregory Gawsell 125 

Jno. Dyke, merchant .... 125 

Jno. Graunt 125 

Mr. St. John's of Lincoln's Inn — 

Chr. Sherland, Esq — 

Gabriel Barber 100 











Original venture 
New total venture . 




Sir Thomas Barrington, Bart., was admitted an adven- 
turer on January 21, 1631, and paid in £200. This com- 
pleted the full number of twenty whole shares. The 
adventurers present at the first meeting*® before the- 
patent was sealed and the company formally incorpo- 
rated, decided to increase the first adventure from £200 
to £500, of which £200 was to be made up at once, £100 
paid at Michaelmas, 1631, and the remaining £200 as 
and when required. The officers for the first year were 
provisionally elected, the Earl of Holland being chosen 

soSaye, Brooke, Budyerd, Gerrard, N. Rich, Moundeford, Pymy Gordon, 
Gawsell, Dyke, Graunt. 


governor, John Dyke, deputy governor, John Pym, 
treasurer, and William Jessop, secretary. 

In examining the list of adventurers it is to be noted 
that they fall into four classes according to the nature 
of the inducement that led them to take shares in the 
company. With one exception, Dyke, all of the members 
were strong Puritans and though some members have 
been classed as induced to join the company by their 
Puritanism, this is not to preclude the others from being 
swayed by the same motive. The first group of mem- 
bers includes those who were intimately connected with 
the Earl of Warwick and his schemes ; to this class may 
be said to have belonged his brother, the Earl of Hol- 
land, Sir Nathaniel Rich, John Dyke, Gabriel Barber, 
and Sir Thomas Barrington. The second group includes 
members of the inner ring of the Puritan party and all, 
save Harwood, members of the parliament of 1628-1629. 
The adventurers belonging to this group were Viscount 
Saye and Sele, Robert, Lord Brooke, Sir Benjamin Rud- 
yerd. Sir Gilbert Gerrard, Sir Edward Harwood, Richard 
Eiiightley, Christopher Sherland, and, most important 
of all, John Pym. Then come three members induced to 
join by Pym*s personal influence, John Robartes, John 
Graunt, and Oliver St. John ; and finally there is a little 
group of East Anglian squires, Gregory Gawsell, John 
Gurdon, and Sir Edmond Moundeford. 

A full account of the members of the company would, 
as may be seen from the above list, involve a biographical 
study of nearly all the Puritan leaders and our attention 
must therefore be confined in the main to their connec- 
tion one with another and to their interest in colonial 
affairs down to 1630. Sidelights will be thrown on the 
characters of some of them in the course of our pages, 
but it may here be remarked how intimately the members 
of the company, and, what is almost the same thing, the 



I leaders of the Puritan party, were allied one with 
' another, with the principal emigrants to New England, 
and also in some degree with the emigrants to Provi- 
dence itself. This intimacy was of great moment in the 
events of the time and provided the link between the 
Puritan leaders that was needful to enable them to build 
up slowly during the silence of parliament an organised 
and powerful party of resistance to the arbitrary poUcy 
of the crown. 

With the Earl of Holland, the nominal governor of the 
company, we need concern ourselves very little. His 
career is well known in the history of the period and his 
connection with the company was of the sUghtest. In 
none of his public employments had Holland displayed 
ability, but his courtly graces placed him very high in 
the favour of both Charles and his queen, and, at a time 
when court favour was the surest road to the obtaining 
of privileges, it was important to have so acceptable an 
advocate as Holland to plead one's cause. He never 
seems to have taken any interest in colonial ventures, 
but his cupidity and his family ties rendered him willing 
to accept the titular position of governor of the Provi- 
dence Company, providing he might share in the com- 
pany's dividends without expenditure of capital. He 
never subscribed a halfpenny to the company's funds, 
but in return for his interest at court was credited with 
a fully paid share in all distributions of profits. He 
attended only one meeting of the company. 

Sir Nathaniel Rich (1585.1636)»^ was one of the best 
known and most respected of the Puritan leaders. He 
was the son of Richard, illegitimate son of the second 
Lord Rich, by his marriage with the daughter of John 

81 The short life of Rich in the Diet, Nat, Biog, needs emendation. It 
quite misrepreeents his share in the work of the Providence Company. 
Brown gives more accurate information. 



Michell, sheriff of London. He was admitted to Gray's 
Inn in 1610 and entered parliament for Totnes in 1614. 
His brother Robert was wrecked on Bermuda with Sir 
George Somers in 1609 and was probably the author of 
the pamphlet, Newes from Virginia, published in 1610. 
According to Brown, Robert Rich was living in Bermuda 
in 1617 and died there in 1620. Sir Nathaniel Rich early 
took a large interest in the colonial enterprises of his 
family and became well known in public life; he was 
knighted in 1617 and served upon several royal com- 
missions. He was an original member of the Bermuda 
Company, a member of the Council for New England, 
and managed the Warwick interests in the courts of the 
Virginia and East India companies; for his conduct of 
his party's case in the quarrel in the Virginia Company 
he was bitterly attacked by Sandys and his faction in 
the House of Conunons in 1624, but he was one of the 
most prominent members of the Council for Virginia 
appointed by the crown on the dissolution of the com- 
pany. In the struggles of the parliament of 1628-1629 
Rich took a prominent part and his speeches in the debate 
on the Petition of Right have been preserved. We may 
regard him throughout his career as the Earl of War- 
wick's man of business, who had a very large share in 
shaping the family policy. 

William Jessop, who was appointed to the secretary- 
ship of the company, was a young student of Gray's 
Inn, who had already done a considerable amount of 
clerical work for the Rich family. He occupied the post 
of secretary to the company and to the patentees of 
Saybrook throughout their existence, and these appoint- 
ments proved the opening to a prosperous career; he 
became later legal agent to many noble houses, was clerk 
to the House of Lords under Henry Elsing in the Long 
Parliament, clerk to the Council of State under the Com- 



monwealthy and clerk to the House of Commons in the 
Long Parliament of the Restoration. He died in 1675, 
leaving a considerable fortune. Two London merchants 
took a share in financing the first voyage of exploration, 
and both had been actively engaged in privateering 
enterprises and colonial trade and sharers in Warwick's 
ventures. The two were men of quite different stamp, 
though both were typical London merchants of the time. 
Gabriel Barber was one of the earliest adventurers in 
the Virginia Company and an original member of the 
Bermuda Company. He was a close adherent of the 
Warwick party and in 1623 was deputy governor of the 
Somers Islands Company, while he was a heavy share- 
holder in the East India Company, and in 1625 we find 
recorded the sale of £1200 of East India stock by him.'* 
That he was both wealthy and public spirited we may 
judge from his anonymous donation of £550 with the 
promise of more for the founding of the first free school 
in Virginia.** John Dyke was a member of the Fish- 
monger 's Company in the City of London and an adven- 
turer in the Virginia, Bermuda, Muscovy, and East India 
companies. His father, Thomas Dyke,*^ had come to 
London from Yorkshire in the reign of Queen Elizabeth 
and had done well as a foreign merchant. In 1612 he 
was one of the adventurers in Hudson's voyage to the 
Northwest Passage; on his death in 1617** his adven- 
tures in the East India, Virginia, and Bermuda com- 
panies were left to be divided among his five sons. At 
the request of the eldest, Robert, his share was passed 
on to the third son, John Dyke, who thenceforward took 

ss C. 8. p. East Indies, 4 March, 1625. 

ss Barber signed hiniBelf "Dust and Ashes." See Fiske, Old Virginia 
and her NeiglUxmrs, J, 234. 

s« HarL Soc Visit of L<mdon, 1, 233. 
ss C. 8. P. East Indies, 4 March, 1625. 


the lead in the family affairs. His interest in colonial 
matters was entirely financial and we find in the registers 
of letters of marque'* repeated issue of letters for ships 
owned by him in partnership with the Earl of Warwick 
and others. He was an adherent of the Warwick party 
in the Virginia quarrel and was one of the Council for 
Virginia appointed in 1624. His appointment to the 
deputy governorship of the Providence Company was 
entirely owing to his conmiercial experience and, it will 
be shown later, the company suffered severely from its 
connection with him. He may be taken as a type of the 
grasping financier who regarded West Indian adventure 
with a favouring eye only as long as it returned him 
large dividends. 

It is hard to say whether his attachment to the Bich 
family or his ardent Puritanism was the more potent 
motive in securing Sir Thomas Barrington's adhesion 
to the company. The Barrington family was one of the 
most important Puritan families of the second rank and 
was allied with practically all the leaders in the constitu- 
tional struggle. The priories of Leighs and Hatfield in 
the parish of Hatfield Broad Oak, near Felsted in Essex, 
had been granted to Chancellor Bich upon the Dissolu- 
tion and from him the Barringtons had purchased the 
priory of Hatfield in 1564.'^ Here, henceforth, the family 
resided on terms of close intimacy with the Biches, whose 
principal seat was at Leighs Priory. Sir Francis Bar- 
rington, the first baronet, married Joan, daughter of 
Sir Henry Cromwell, the ' * Golden Knight ' * of Hinching- 
brook, and aunt of John Hampden and Oliver Cromwell, 
the future Protector. Lady Joan Barrington was one 
of the most remarkable women of her time, who kept up 
to her very latest years a voluminous correspondence 

»• C. 8. p. Dom., 1625-1630. 
»T Wright's Essex, IT, 310. 


with her numerous family and whose advice was repeat- 
edly sought by the leaders of the Puritan party, both 
clerical and lay. She took an intimate interest in New 
England and kept up a correspondence with many of 
the Massachusetts emigrants. Boger Williams, the foun- 
der of the colony of Rhode Island, often corresponded 
with Lady Barrington and married one of her nieces.** 
Many letters from the Eliot family are preserved among 
the Barrington correspondence and there are some rea- 
sons for believing that Oliver Cromwell met his future 
wife, Elizabeth Bourchier, at Lady Joan's house, for she 
and Sir John Bourchier were near neighbours. Sir 
Francis Barrington represented Essex in all parliaments 
from 1601 to his death in 1628 and was one of the earliest 
members of the Virginia Company. Thomas (c. 1590- 
1644) was knighted in his father's lifetime and succeeded 
to the baronetcy in 1628; he represented various bor- 
oughs in the Bich interest in the parliaments from 1621 
to 1628, when he succeeded his father as knight of the 
shire for Essex. During the struggles over the Petition 
of Bight he was one of the inner circle of Puritan leaders, 
and was a fellow member with Pym and with his brother- 
in-law, Gerrard, of many important committees. He 
married as his second wife, Judith Litton, who was con- 
nected with the family of St. John of Bletsho and hence 
with the Bussells, Earls of Bedford. As one of the 
deputy-lieutenants of Essex, Barrington carried out the 
directions of the lord lieutenant, the Earl of Warwick, 
and was a person of great importance in the county. 
Many of the extant letters from Providence are addressed 
to him as deputy-governor of the company for 1633- 
William Fiennes (1582-1662), first Viscount Saye and 

8S Brit. Mas., Eg., 2643, f o. 1, Williams to Ladj Joan Barrington, 2 May, 


Sele, has been largely forgotten by succeeding genera- 
tionSy bnt down to the opening of the Civil War he was 
regarded by all as the typical Pnritan and as one of the 
most intractable opponents of arbitrary government in 
chnrch and state. Educated at Oxford a little earlier 
than Pym, he succeeded his father in the revived barony 
of Saye and Sele in 1613. His Puritanism was of the 
strongest and he was, from 1621 onwards, one of the 
most prominent of the anti-court and anti-Spanish party ; 
to the breaking-off of the Spanish Match Saye owed his 
promotion in the peerage, but this did not modify his 
uncompromising hostility to arbitrary power and during 
the parliament of 1628-1629 he was the king's most 
implacable opponent in the House of Lords, and was the 
most skilful tactician among the Puritan leaders. His 
daughter, Bridget, was married to Theophilus Fiennes- 
Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, and through this connection 
and his intimacy with Warwick, he began about 1629 to 
take an interest in colonisation. He shared in the work 
of the Providence Company and in New England affairs 
from this time and we shall have a good deal to say con- 
cerning his schemes. Many of the Puritan emigrants 
to Providence came from the neighbourhood of his seat 
at Broughton near Banbury. Saye*s fortune was hardly 
equal to his rank and some part of his interest in coloni- 
sation was probably to be attributed to his hopes of 
profit from his ventures. He purchased in 1633 a share 
in the Providence Company for his eldest son, James 
Fiennes, but the latter took no part in the company's 

Robert Greville, second Lord Brooke (1608-1643), was 
the adopted son of his great uncle, Sir Fulke Greville, 
first Baron." He sat in the parliament of 1628-1629 for 
the family borough of Warwick and succeeded to the 

>• Harl. Soc. Lincolnshire Pedigrees, II, 431. 


barony soon after attaining his majority. The inclina- 
tion towards Puritanism that he had imbibed during his 
education in Holland, threw him under the influence of 
Warwick and Saye, and it was they who led him to take 
a share in the Providence Company's enterprise and 
later interested him in the colonisation of New England 
and especially of Saybrook.*® The large fortune he had 
inherited enabled him to be of much financial assistance 
to the company, and, as he grew older, he became more 
and more interested in its work and ready to carry on 
some portion of it at his own charge. He married 
Katherine Russell, daughter of Francis, fourth Earl of 
Bedford; this connection and his talents, wealth, and 
position caused him to fill a very prominent place, in the 
Puritan struggle. 

Sir Benjamin Rudyerd (1572-1658), son of James Rud- 
yerd of Rudyerd in Staffordshire,** came to court to try 
his fortune at the height of Queen Elizabeth 's reign, and 
his brother, James, started his career in the City of 
London about the same time. He played a prominent 
part in the Uterary world under James I, and was 
granted through his patron^ the Earl of Pembroke, the 
lucrative position of surveyor to the Court of Wards 
for life. He was knighted in 1618, entered the House of 
Commons in 1620 as member for Portsmouth, and sat 
in every subsequent parliament down to his death. 
Although the anti-Spanish views he had imbibed in early 
manhood under Elizabeth placed him, like Pembroke, in 
opposition at first to King Jameses foreign policy, the 
breaking-off of the Spanish Match allowed him to take 
up a more moderate position, and in the parliament of 

^oFalke Qreville, the first Lord Brooke, had been an intimate friend of 
Baleigh's and had taken great interest in his schemes of colonisation. 
V. Brown, I, 15. 

*i Harl. Soc, Visit, of London, 11, 215. 


1623 he acted as spokesman for the government. But 
his zeal for church reform threw him on to the side of the 
opposition and in the parliament of 1628-1629 he defi- 
nitely took his stand with the Puritan leaders and 
became one of the chief members of the party. He was 
an intimate friend of the Earl of Warwick and Sir 
Nathaniel Bich^^ and it was this friendship that led him 
to join the Providence Company. He was a regular 
attendant at its meetings for some years, though later 
his interest somewhat cooled. 

Sir Gilbert Gerrard, Bart., of Harrow-on-the-Hill, Mid- 
dlesexy succeeded his father in 1583 and was admitted to 
Gray's Inn in 1592. He married in 1620, Mary, daugh- 
ter of Sir Francis and Lady Joan Barrington, and was 
thus more strongly confirmed in his sympathies with 
Puritanism. He entered parliament as member for Mid- 
dlesex in 1621 and thenceforth, except in 1626, when he 
was pncked for sheriff of the county, he sat in every 
parliament down to the Long Parliament, as one of the 
inner circle of the Puritan party. The Gerrard family 
had been connected with colonial ventures since the early 
part of Elizabeth *s reign, but Sir Gilbert does not appear 
to have taken any personal interest in colonisation prior 
to the founding of the Providence Company in which he 
was led to take a share by his friendship with the Earl 
of Warwick, Sir Nathaniel Bich, and Pym. He was an 
active member of the company and served as deputy- 
governor in 1634-1635; the company's meetings were 
occasionally held at his house in Holbom. 

Sir Edward Harwood (1586-1632),** one of the four 

42 For the intiinacy of the f amiliee see Brit. Mub., Eg., 2646, f o. 54. 

** Brown ealls Edward Harwood the son of Leonard Harwood, member of 
the Virginia Company. This is shown to be incorrect bj Harl. Soc, Lines. 
Pedigrees, IL 458, where William Harwood of Thurlby, father of Edward, 
is given as dying in 1600. 



standing colonels of the English contingent in the Low 
CoontrieSy had long had an interest in colonisation. He 
was for many years a member of the Virginia Company 
and possessed four shares in the Somers Islands Com- 
pany. He was bound by ties of close intimacy with the 
family of the Earl of Lincoln and his family seat of 
Thurlby was not far from Sempringham. His brother, 
Gteorge Harwood," one of the feoffees for impropria- 
tions in 1627, was the first treasurer of the Massachu- 
setts Bay Company" and may have had something to do 
with interesting the Clinton family in the project. Sir 
Edward Harwood^s sympathies were very strongly Puri- 
tan and there is some reason to suppose that he was of 
assistance to the Pilgrim Fathers during their sojourn 
in Leyden and may have aided them to secure their 
patent from the Earl of Warwick. During the education 
of Lord Brooke in Holland, Harwood was in close touch 
with the latter, and as his residence abroad precluded his 
attendance at the "Providence meetings save on one or 
two occasions. Lord Brooke acted as his proxy. Har- 
wood was killed in action at the siege of Maestricht in 

Bichard Knightley (1593-1639) succeeded to the family 
domain of Fawsley in Northamptonshire on the death 
of his cousin. Sir Valentine Knightley, in 1618. He was 
one of the most respected members of the Puritan party 
and represented Northants in the parliaments of 1621- 
1622, 1624-1625, 1625 and 1628-1629. He was prevented 
from sitting in that of 1626 by being pricked sheriff of 
his county. Sir Valentine Knightley had been a member 
of the Virginia Company and Bichard Knightley suc- 
ceeded to his interest in colonial affairs, which interest 
may have been augmented by his marriage with Anne, 

** Lines. Pedigrees, II, 458. S. P. Dom., Car. I, cclv, ii. 

«B Elected 28 February, 1628-1629, Massachusetts Colonial Becords, I. 


daughter of Sir William Courteen. His house at Faws- 
ley was often a meeting place for the opposition leaders 
and the Providence Company occasionally met there at 
the same time. The Ejiightleys were close friends of 
the HampdenSy and Richard Knightley's son married 
one of John Hampden's daughters, while his brother, 
Nathaniel,^ a merchant tailor of London, was married 
to a daughter of Alderman Johnson of the Virginia Coih- 
pany. The adhesion of the Knightley family to Puri- 
tanism was traditional, for at the time of the **Marpre- 
late** controversy in Elizabeth's reign many of the 
tracts were printed upon a secret press at Fawsley in 
the house of Sir Richard Knightley. 

Christopher Sherland of Gray's Inn, recorder of 
Northampton, represented the borough in the parlia- 
ments of 1623-1624, 1625, 1626 and 1628-1629. He held 
a high position in the counsels of the Puritan party and 
was the reporter of several committees of the House of 
Commons. He came imder the unfavourable notice of 
the government along with George Harwood as one of 
the feoffees for the impropriations of the tithes of Dun- 
stable, Cirencester, and Hertford in 1627.*^ His strong 
Puritanism led him to take frequent part in the debates 
on religious questions in parliament. He died early in 

The most important executive office in the Providence 
Company, as in the Virginia and Somers Islands com- 
panies, was the treasurership. To this office his strik- 

«• Harl. Soc., Visit, of London, II, 35. 

*f Neal in his History of the Puritans gives his name as Sherman, but a 
reference to the original list among the Domestic State Papers proves that 
this should really be Sherland. S. P. Dom., Gar. I, cclv, ii. The Feoffees 
were a prominent group of Puritans, in whom were vested the impropriate 
tithes of certain benefices. These tithes thej administered for the support 
of Puritan lecturers, and thej therefore fell under Laud's displeasure and 
were dissolved. See Publications, Mass. Col. Soc. XI, pp. 263-277. 


ing financial ability and experience secured the election 
of John Pym. Of those who have exercised a command- 
ing influence on English history there is perhaps no one 
whose career has been less studied than has Pym 's. His 
only modem biographers, Forster, Gardiner, and Gold- 
win Smith,** concern themselves almost entirely with his 
public life in parliament and are in great part devoted 
to the last three years of his life, when his name was on 
every lip. The whole ordered development of his career, 
however, marked him out to his colleagues in the inner 
circle of the Puritan party during the intermission of 
parliaments as the natural successor of Eliot in the lead- 
ership in the struggle against arbitrary power, and the 
commanding position he at once took up on the opening 
of the Long Parliament, must have seemed entirely nat- 
ural to the men whose schemes he had advised and 
directed ever since the prison doors closed upon Eliot in 
1629. The master-mind that governed the whole course 
of the Providence Company was Pym^s, and it is neces- 
sary therefore to deal with his earlier career at some 

John Pym (1584-1643) was the son of Alexander Pym 
of Brymore, Somerset ; his father died when he was very 
young and his mother, PhiUppa Coles, married within a 
year or two Sir Anthony Rous of Halton St. Dominick, 
Cornwall, with whose family Pym was brought up. Sir 
Anthony *8 second son by his first wife married Pym^s 
sister Jane, bom in 1581, while his fourth son was Fran- 
cis Bous, the celebrated provost of Eton, who played an 
important part in the Puritan struggle. We shall find 
several members of the Bous family mentioned in the 
Providence records. Pym matriculated at Broadgates 
Hall (now Pembroke College), Oxford, in 1599, his step- 

4SA popular biography of Pym has recently appeared, but to this the 
same eriticism applies. 



brother, Francis, having graduated from the same college 
three years before; in 1602 he became a student of the 
Middle Temple but was never called to the bar. 

Sir Anthony Rous was the representative of the inter- 
ests of the great Russell family on the Devon and Cor- 
nish border. The parish of Halton St. Dominick lies 
under ten miles from Tavistock, the spoils of whose abbey 
had fallen to the Russells at the Dissolution ;^* the region 
is rich in lead and copper mines and from these mines 
the family then drew a large share of their wealth. The 
interest of the third Earl of Bedford was suflScient to 
secure for young Pym a lucrative appointment in the 
Exchequer and on June 11, 1605, an order"® was issued 
to draw a grant to John Pym in reversion after Henry 
Audley of the receivership of the coimties of Hants, 
Wilts, and Gloucestershire. How long he waited for his 
office does not appear, but from 1613 we find occasional 
references to his work in the financial business of the 
counties. The monetary difficulties that beset James I 
must have added considerably to the work of Pym 's post 
and in 1618 he is found writing to the Lords of the 
Treasury that it was impossible to raise a sum of £2000, 
which he had been directed to procure by the sale of 
some crown rents.**^ Pym entered parliament for the 
first time for the borough of Tavistock in 1620,"* the 
borough being entirely devoted to the Russell interest. 
He at once began to take an active part in the committee 
work of the Commons, and showed even thus early a 
strong interest in religious questions. He was naturally 
urged towards Puritanism by his serious temper; and 

«• See Diet. Nat, Biog. art. William Bussell, first Earl of Bedford, XLIX, 
»o C. 8. P. Dom,, 1 June, 1605. 

51 C. 8, P. Dom., 28 Sept., 1618. 

52 The statement that he sat in the parliament of 1614 for Calne has been 
shown to be incorrect. 


the influence of his step-brother, Francis Rous, and of his 
friend, Charles Fitz-Geffry, put him definitely upon the 
Puritan side. The death of his wife, Anna Hooke," in 
1620, increased his devotion to religion. He was a mem- 
ber of the Commons* committee of 1620-1621 upon reli- 
gious grievances and his work, while it brought him into 
notice with the Puritan party, led to his detention along 
with other prominent Puritan members at the end of 
the parliament. From his confinement in his own house 
he had to be released early in 1622 by Cranfield^s influ- 
ence to carry out some important financial work for the 
Exchequer," but he was compelled to return to confine- 
ment when the work was complete. Cranfield found his 
assistance in the Exchequer so useful, however, that he 
secured from the king Pym's full release about the end 
of the year. 

In the first parliament of Charles I, Pym began to 
take a really prominent part, especially in committee 
work; an experience in financial affairs, so uncommon 
outside the official members of the house, made him 
reporter of the committee on the lord treasurer's finan- 
cial statement, while his mastery of detail caused his 
repeated choice as reporter of the numerous other com- 
mittees upon which he sat. It is most noticeable in the 
Commons' journals of this period how frequently the 
names of a small knot of members occur upon the impor- 
tant committees that then did so large a share of the 
work of the House ; Sir N. Rich, Sir B. Rudyerd, Sir G. 
Gerrard, Sir T. Barrington, Christopher Sherland, and 
Pym himself, were repeatedly serving together in this 
way, and one of them was in most cases chosen reporter 
of the committee. The intimate personal friendship imit- 

B> Gapt. Hooke, a relative, was in the years 1634-1635 a principal leader of 
the malcontents in Providence. 
8« Hist. MSS. Gomm., Fourth Beport, App'z, De la Warr MSS., p. 305, etc 


ing them and this common experience in public work 
made the group the most powerful body in England 
outside the official hierarchies. 

Pym continued deeply interested in religious and finan- 
cial matters and was entrusted with the management of 
the financial articles of the impeachment of Buckingham^ 
May, 1626. He conducted the impeachment of Mainwar- 
ing in the parliament of 1628, but in the riotous scene 
that closed the session of 1629 he took no part. With 
the dissolution of parliament and the arrest of Eliot, 
his public career must have seemed closed and he there- 
fore turned, in the practical way that characterised him, 
to the new interest of colonisation that had lately begun 
to occupy his mind. Opportunities for the exercise of 
statecraft in the early seventeenth century were denied 
to any Englishman outside the ranks of the high nobility 
or the narrow circle of permanent officials ; to a man like 
Pym, who had had for ten years a share, though a small 
one, in the government of his country, who had sat in 
every parliament since 1620 and had slowly built up for 
himself a reputation for capacity, the closing of all hope 
of further influence on his country 's life with the closing 
of parliament, must have been a hard blow to his ambi- 
tion. But the schemes for Puritan colonisation presented 
themselves to him with their vistas of opportunity and 
Pym seized upon them with avidity and devoted whole- 
heartedly to the Providence Company *s affairs his time, 
his thought, and his fortune. For eight years the com- 
pany absorbed him until the events of 1638-1639 again 
encouraged a hope that the great struggle still remained 
to be won, and he felt that a part upon the great stage 
once more was calling him. 

Pym seems first to have come into contact with colo- 
nial affairs in 1628, when he was appointed reporter of 
the Commons ' committee upon the petition of the Somers 


Islands planters. The committee's investigation much 
interested him in the affairs of the islands and the report, 
which was drawn np by him, Sir Nathaniel Rich, and two 
others, strongly represented to the king the planters' 
claim for relief. The Bermuda charter had been granted 
to the company on June 29, 1615, but now after an inter- 
val of thirteen years it was submitted to parliament for 
confirmation. It is difficult to accoimt for its presenta- 
tion after so long a delay, but it may have been due to 
a desire on the part of the crown to show the Commons, 
who had been attacking so many royal grants to com- 
panies, that some of them were quite unexceptionable. 
The bill of confirmation was sent to a select committee 
comprising among others Sir Nathaniel Rich (reporter), 
Pym, Barrington, and Rudyerd." The interest in Ber- 
muda thus excited in Pym 's mind caused him to purchase 
several shares of land in the islands ; on the formation of 
the Providence Company his new interest in colonisation 
further expanded and he was prepared to accept the 
treasurership, which was offered to him by a unanimous 
vote. Although Pym for the next eight years devoted 
so much time to the Providence Company, he still found 
enough energy to do other work. He retained his post 
in the Exchequer, and that he still hankered after gov- 
ernmental work which did not commit him to approval 
of arbitrary power, is shown by his willingness to serve 
in 1632 as a commissioner for Gloucestershire to enquire 
into the causes of depopulation and of the conversion of 
arable land to pasture. 

John Robartes (1606-1685)" was led to invest money 
in the Providence Company either by his friendship with 

BBFor the information concerning tliese committeee refer to CovMnant,' 

B« Succeeded his father as Lord Bobartes of Truro in 1634, and was 
created at the Bestoration Earl of Radnor. 


Pym or by his connection with the Rich family. He 
belonged to a Cornish family that had attained to great 
wealth by dealings in tin and wool. His father, Richard 
Robartes, had for years suffered from governmental 
extortion and one of the charges in the impeachment of 
Buckingham, which it fell to Pym to prove, was that he 
had compelled Robartes to purchase his barony in 1625 
at a cost of £10,000. The family was closely allied with 
Pym and the Rous family by marriage, William Rous, 
eldest grandson of Sir Anthony Rous, having married 
Maria, sister of John Robartes, in 1617, while John 
Robartes himself married Lucy Rich, second daughter 
of the Earl of Warwick. He was educated at Exeter 
College, Oxford, where, according to Wood, he ''sucked 
in evil principles both as to Church and State. * "^ In 1630 
he was just beginning to take an interest in public affairs 
and his intimacy with the promoters induced him to take 
a share in the Providence Company, but he was never a 
regular attendant at its meetings though he could be 
depended on to follow the lead of the older members. 

It was certainly Pym^s influence that led Oliver St. 
John to take an interest for the first time in colonisation 
and to invest in the Providence Company. A cadet of 
the house of St. John of Bletsho, Oliver St. John was 
in 1630 beginning to acquire a practice as a pleader under 
the aegis of the Russell family. He had married Lady 
Joan Barrington *s favourite niece Joan, daughter of her 
brother, Henry Cromwell, and was the old lady's con- 
stant correspondent on business matters. He had been 
called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1626 and was at this 
period earning a reputation among his friends as an 
acute lawyer. He had been sent to the Tower in Novem- 
ber, 1629, for communicating to his patron, the Earl of 
Bedford, Dudley's tract on Bridling ParliameMts , but 

»T Wood's AthencB Oxonienses, III, 271, IV, 178. 


was released on the birth of Prince Charles in June, 
1630. His services were always called into requisition by 
the Providence and Saybrook patentees in legal matters, 
and to the reputation for legal acumen he acquired 
among the Puritan leaders we may attribute his selection 
as Hampden's counsel in the Ship-Money case, when he 
was quite unknown to the nation at large. It was 
through Pym also that John Graunt came to join the 
company. He had for years been an employe of the 
government in various posts under the Exchequer*^* and 
was therefore in all probability an old personal friend 
of Pym '8. He was, at the time of which we are writing, 
clerk of the cheque in the Exchequer and in charge of 
all the king's messengers. His financial abilities were 
made use of by the Providence Company, who employed 
him as auditor of their accounts. 

The last group of adventurers owe their connection 
with the company to the interest in Puritan colonisation 
that they had acquired from their neighbours. Gregory 
Gawsell was lord of the manor of Watlington, John Gur- * 
don was the eldest son of old Brampton Gurdon of 
Assington, Suffolk, and Letton, Norfolk, while Sir Ed- 
mond Moundeford was lord of the manor of Feltwell. 
All these places lie within a radius of twenty miles from 
John Winthrop's home of Groton, Suffolk, and all three 
men were friends of the Winthrops and their relations. 
Puritanism and the desire for emigration were particu- 
larly strong in this comer of East Anglia, and it was 
this fact that led them to invest in the Providence Com- 
pany. Gregory Gawsell was probably entrusted by the 
Earl of Warwick with the oversight of the estates of the 
Rich family in Norfolk and Suffolk. He was a man of 
considerable importance in the county, as is shown by 
his position as treasurer for the Eastern Counties ' Asso- 

58 C. 5. p. Dom,, 12 July, 1619, 23 July, 1620; 1635-1636, p. 182. 



dation in the Civil War." His sister was married to one 
of the Saltonstall family, but he himself was never mar- 
ried; his tomb, with a long Latin inscription narrating 
his virtues, is in Watlington Church.*® John Gurdon was 
an intimate friend of John Winthrop*^ and his sister 
married Richard, eldest son of Sir Richard Saltonstall f^ 
he was also well known to Sir Nathaniel Rich. He came 
to the front during the Civil War, was a member of the 
Eastern Counties' Association and one of the king's 
judges. His name is spelt in the Providence records 
Gourden, but he must not be confused with John Gauden, 
chaplain to the Earl of Warwick and after the Restora- 
tion Bishop of Worcester, who is said to have been the 
author of the Eikon Basilike. Sir Edmond Moundeford 
represented Thetford in the parliament of 1628-1629 and 
the county of Norfolk in the Short and Long Parliaments. 
He took as active a part in the affairs of the Providence 
Company as his residence so far from London would 
allow, and a letter from him to his friend Sir Simonds 
d'Ewes concerning the company is extant.*' 

The intimate bonds uniting the members of the com- 
pany, and in a wider circle the leaders of the Puritan 
party, cannot fail to be remarked in these brief notices 
of their careers, but there is a second fact about them, 
that is, perhaps, not so obvious. It is remarkable what 
a preponderant part East Anglia played in the great 
Puritan emigration and in the Puritan revolution ten 
years later, and here we find that, outside London, the 
Providence Company was mainly of interest to men 
from the eastern shires. It would be a study of great 

B» S. p. Dom., Gar. I, VoL 539, no. 291, 30 Maj, 1645, Gawseirs signature. 
•0 Blomefield'B Norfolk, VII, 480. For Gawsell's pedigree see Harl. Soc, 
Visii. of Norfolk. 
•1 Mass. Hist. See. Coll., 4th series, VII, 632. 
•2 Hid., p. 251. 
•8 Brit. Mus., Harl. MSS., 207, fo. 211. 



interest) but one that lies beyond the scope of onr pres- 
ent subject, to examine the causes that, between the years 
1630 and 1640, specially predisposed the men of eastern 
England to emigration. The tendency seems to have 
affected most strongly those living in an area that is 
spread out in a great horseshoe around the low-lying 
fen coimtry that drains into the Wash. Puritanism was 
certainly stronger in this part of England than in any 
other, but this would hardly be sufficient to account for 
the phenomenon, and it is probable that a minute enquiry 
would reveal the workings of some deep-seated economic 
cause, a probability that is strengthened when we recall 
that throughout the early Stuart period there was in the 
area in question constant agitation of an economic and 
agrarian character, as is evidenced by the Domestic 
State Papers. 




While Bell and Elfrith were getting their colonists 
together in Bermuda and estabUshing the foundations 
of a colony in Santa Catalina, matters were moving 
apace with the emigrants to Massachusetts. Endecott 
on his second voyage in 1629 had established the settle- 
,ments of Salem and Charlestown, and the main expedi- 
tion under Winthrop's leadership left Southampton 
Water on March 23, 1630. The more important members 
of the company, such as Dudley and Johnson, accom- 
panied Winthrop, but John Humphry, the first deputy- 
governor, was left behind to look after the company's 
affairs in England,^ and Winthrop 's eldest son, John, 
remained to sell off the family estates and refresh his 
knowledge of fortification for use if necessary in defence 
against the Indians. The intimate connection of the 
Providence Company's leaders with the Massachusetts 
enterprise at this time was most marked and they were 
constantly rendering services to the emigrants. Just 
before sailing, for instance, we find Isaac Johnson writ- 
ing to Winthrop concerning his son John's studies in 
fortification:* ''We have writ a letter to Sir N. Rich 
to get a letter from him to Capt. Gosnall that your son 
may by his means take a view and plot of Harwich Fort 
for us ; for which I pray you will let him have time. . . . 

1 Massachusetts Colonial Becords, 23 March, 1629-1630. 
> Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., 4th series, VI, 31. 

Warwick, as lord lieutenant of Elssex, waa^ command of all the forti- 
fications in the country. 




P. S. I have sent Sir N. Rich his letter for your son, 
which, I hope, is sufficient. * * On December 9, 1630, John 
Humphry writes to Isaac Johnson at Charlestown :* 
* * We are all much bound to my Lord Say for his cordial 
advice and true affections. As also to my Lord of War- 
wick. Sir Natha: Rich deserves much acknowledgment 
of his wise handling. . . . My Lord of Warwick will take 
a Patent of that place you writ of for himself, and so we 
may be bold to do there as if it were our own. Write 
letters abundantly to him and others, though they deserve 
them not as he doth. My Lord Say told me he had writ 
a letter to you, but I cannot learn where he hath left it. * * 
This patent that Humphry mentions is of great 
interest as it shows us the beginnings of the movement 
that resulted a few years later in the foundation of the 
Saybrook settlement. It will be remembered that in a 
previous chapter we spoke of the division by lot in 1623 
of the lands of New England between the subscribing 
members of the Council for New England owing to the 
great parliamentary opposition that the council had 
encountered as a monopoly. From 1623 to 1628 the 
Council for New England was in a moribund condition 
and appears to have done little or nothing. About the 
beginning of 1629, however, the Earl of Warwick began 
to take a renewed interest in its affairs and in concert 
with Sir Ferdinando Gorges began to resuscitate its 
activities. It has been the custom of writers to represent 
Gorges as in a state of perennial hostility to the Puritan 
colonists of New England and, if we only considered the 
period from 1632 onwards, this does correctly represent 
his attitude, but in the period 1629-1632 all the contem- 
porary accounts of his action are consistent with his own 
version of what occurred. His attitude towards the 
Puritan colonies was entirely benevolent providing the 

» Ibid,, VI, 15. 


interests of his own family were not injured, and he was 
quite willing to join Warwick in smoothing matters for 
the colonists as much as possible. In his Brief e Narra- 
tion he puts the matter thus :* ' ' The King, not pleased 
with divers the passages of some particular persons, 
who in their speeches seemed to trench further on his 
royal prerogative than stood with his safety and honour 
to give way unto, suddenly brake oflf the Parliament. 
Whereby divers were so fearful what would follow so 
unaccustomed an action, some of the principal of those 
liberal speakers being committed to the Tower, others 
to other prisons — which took all hope of reformation 
of Church government from many not affecting Episco- 
pal jurisdiction, nor the usual practice of the common 
prayers of the Church, whereof there were several sorts, 
though not agreeing among themselves, yet all of dis- 
like of those particulars. Some of the discreeter sort, 
to avoid what they found themselves subject unto, made 
use of their friends to procure from the Coimcil for the 
affairs of New England to settle a colony within their 
limits; to which it pleased the thrice-honoured Lord of 
Warwick to write to me then at Plymouth to condescend* 
that a patent might be granted to such as then sued for 
it. Whereupon I gave my approbation, so far forth as 
it might not be prejudicial to my son, Robert Gorges ^ 
interests whereof he had a patent under the seal of the 
Council. Hereupon there was a grant passed* as was 
thought reasonable, but the same was afterwards en- 
larged by his Majesty and confirmed under the great 
seal of England.*" 

^ArchcBol. Amer,, HI, xlv. 

B A word impljing in the seventeenth century not the attitude of a superior 
towards an inferior, but mere acquiescence. 
• Warwick's Patent of 19 March, 1628. 
7 The Massachusetts Charter of 4 March, 1629. 


The Council for New England was in a state of revived 
activity nnder Warwick's presidency from 1628 onwards, 
and it was by his direction that the draft of a grant was 
prepared late in 1630. A printed version of the deed 
that was subsequently based on this draft has come down 
to us through Trumbull, the historian of Connecticut," 
but neither of the original documents nor any record of 
their official enrolment has ever been discovered, and a 
large amoimt of controversy has raged roimd the ques- 
tion of their validity. The subject need not detain us 
here, but it may be suggested that in promising a further 
patent to the Massachusetts settlers, Warwick was 
relying on his control of the New England Council and 
his temporary agreement with the Gorges. The so- 
called patent that is printed by Trumbull is not at all 
usual in form and may have been the informal draft, 
which, before it could be sealed, would have had to 
undergo revision at the hands of the lawyers. The 
grantor of a territory must himself have a legal title 
before he can validly transfer it to others, and it cer- 
tainly cannot be said that Warwick, even though he was 
president of the New England Council, had either a clear 
or an undisputed right to make grants of the territory 
that was nominally vested in the council. 

Warwick and his friends, however, undoubtedly acted 
on the assumption that they could dispose of the desired 
territory, and it appears safe to take Trumbull's version 
of the grant as correct in the main. On March 19, 1632, 
Robert, Earl of Warwick, regranted the land for a dis- 
tance of forty leagues from the Narragansett River to 
the following peers and gentlemen : ' * the right honour- 
able William, Viscount Saye and Sele, the right honour- 
able Robert, Lord Brooke, the right honourable Lord 
Rich, and the honourable Charles Fiennes, Esq., Sir 

* Tnunbull 'b History of Connecticut, I, 495. 


Nathaniel Rich, Ejit., Sir Richard Saltonstall, Ejit., 
Richard Knightley, Esq., John Pym, Esq., John Hamp- 
den, Esq., John Humphry, Esq., and Herbert Pelham, 
Esq.'** With the exception of the last named, we can 
identify each of these gentlemen as intimately interested 
in the Puritan migration to Massachusetts, and six out 
of eleven as members of the newly founded Providence 
Company. No action to enforce the grant was taken as 
yet, but from the surrounding circumstances we may be 
certain that the preliminary steps now taken were not 
without aim, but were in pursuance of a settled policy. 
The project for a great migration was seizing more and 
more upon the minds of Puritan men, Massachusetts had 
just been founded as one home for the refugees. Provi- 
dence, it was hoped, would soon become another; many 
attempts were being made by godless men, such as Old- 
ham or Mason, and by Arminians, such as the Brownes, 
to found settlements along the New England coasts. 
It would be well to secure a further large part of New 
England for the expansion of the new Puritan commu- 
nity and for a refuge for the Puritan settlers from 
Providence if Puritan hopes in the West Indies should 
be disappointed. We shall see how some of these antici- 
pations were verified four years later, but in a way 
entirely unexpected to the first patentees. 

Before we gather up the scattered threads we have 
collected and attempt to weave with them the story of 
the Providence Company, let us pause for a moment and 
regard the changes that had taken place along the 
American seaboard since we surveyed it as it was in 
1600. The infant French colony around Quebec and 
along the banks of the St. Lawrence was beginning to 
be called Canada and was in 1631 for the moment in the 

• The Clinton family were allied with the Pelhams and this man was 
probably a relative of the Earl of Lincoln. 


hands of the Franco-Scottish brothers Kirke; in Nova 
Scotia the French Acadians at Port Royal and Sir 
William Alexander's rival Scottish colony had begun 
their century-long conflict. Along the shores of Maine 
a few scattered fishing settlements were all that yet 
existed, but the rise of Massachusetts as a stable com- 
munity had begun, and Plymouth had already quite a 
respectable history of struggle behind it. Neither Dutch 
nor English had yet entered the valley of the Connecticut, 
though at the mouth of the Hudson River Manhattan 
had commenced a precarious existence as the Cinderella 
of the Dutch colonies. It was not till 1632 that George 
Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, abandoning his 
attempts at colonisation in Newfoundland and Virginia, 
secured from Charles I the proprietorship of Maryland, 
though already William Claiborne had established a 
plantation on Kent Island in the Chesapeake and settled 
there about a hundred men from Virginia.**^ Virginia 
had in 1631 long since passed the struggling stage and 
was on the high road to prosperity; Bermuda, as we 
have seen, had disappointed the hopes of its colonisers, 
and Sir Robert Heath's attempted colonisation of 
* * Carolana ' ' had proved entirely abortive. 

Matters in the West Indies had as yet changed little; 
St. Christopher and Nevis had just been cleared by Spain 
of their English and French settlers, but these had 
almost immediately returned. St. Martin's, Saba, and 
St. Eustatius were each held by a few Dutchmen, and 
others were attempting a colony on Tobago ; Martinique 
already had a few French settlers and Barbadoes was 
definitely showing signs of becoming a prosperous Eng- 
lish colony. The rest of the Lesser Antilles were still 
abandoned to the cannibal Caribs; off the shores of 

10 J. H. V. studies, XIII, Latan^, ''Early Belations between Maryland 
and Virginia," p. 11. 


Tierra Firme the Dutch had already made Curasao into 
a place of arms and thence were maintaining the profit- 
able clandestine trade with the Spanish colonies. In 
Guiana they were the only nation achieving anything 
like success, though English and French were still making 
attempts at trade and settlement. It was in Brazil that 
the Dutch West India Company were achieving great 
things at the expense of Spain and were making the most 
successful attempt to maintain an empire in tropical 
America that has ever been made by a non-Iberian 
nation. The Iberian monopoly of the New World had in 
thirty years been utterly destroyed, all the great colo- 
nising nations had taken their first steps westward and 
already the lists were being prepared for the struggle 
for colonial power that was to rage through the next 
two centuries with ever-varying fortunes. 

There does not appear to have been in 1630 any 
invariable method of securing from the crown the right 
of planting a colony, grants being issued both under the 
sign manual and under the great seal, while some colonies 
were commenced without any direct license from the 
crown. The most formal, but at the same time the most 
costly method, was to obtain the issue of letters patent 
under the great seal, and this was the method chosen 
by the Providence Company. The letters patent were 
prepared upon the direction of a secretary of state by 
the attorney-general in consultation with the legal repre- 
sentative of the company, Oliver St. John, and were 
engrossed upon the patent roll" on December 4, 1630. 
The total cost of the patent including the necessary fees 
amounted to some £60, but in this total the numerous 
douceurs paid to the clerks of the Privy Council, etc., 
were not included. The company was incorporated under 
the title of * * The Governor and Company of Adventurers 

11 7 Car., I, Part 14. 


of the City of Westminster for the Plantation of the 
Islands of Providence or Catalina, Henrietta or Andrea, 
and the adjacent islands lying upon the coast of 
America," and the limits within which the company's 
activities were confined were the tenth and twentieth 
degrees **from the Equinoctial line towards the Tropic 
of Cancer, '* and the two hundred and ninetieth and 
three hundred and tenth degrees of longitude. The area 
thus marked out for the company's enterprise is some 
six hundred geographical miles from north to south by 
one thousand two hundred miles from west to east. The 
longitude was measured eastward from Ferro in the 
Canaries and the two hundred and ninetieth meridian 
(88** W. of Greenwich) passes through Cape Catoche and 
the head of the Gulf of Honduras, while the three hun- 
dred and tenth meridian (68** W.) runs through the Mona 
Passage between Hispaniola and Porto Rico. The par- 
allel of 10"* N. lat. passes to the north of the Isthmus of 
Darien and the northern limit of the patent just included 
the northern shore of Hispaniola. 

The patent follows the general lines of the colonial 
patents of the period, and, as copied into the company's 
entry book, fills its first twenty pages. The Earl of 
Holland was named as first governor of the company 
and his deputy was to be elected annually in every 
Easter term. A general court was to be held upon the 
last Thursday of every term to ordain forms of govern- 
ment and appoint officers for the company and colony, 
while ordinary courts might be held at any time. Men, 
women, and children might be transported to the colony 
as the company desired unless the king should * * expressly 
forbid any particular person or persons to the con- 
trary"; the company was to administer the oaths of 
allegiance and supremacy to all persons passing to the 
colony. These provisions as to the government's veto 



and the oath of allegiance were quite usual and had been 
inserted in all grants since Gilbert's patent of 1579, but 
they are of special interest when we remember that 
between 1630 and 1640, contrary to earlier usage, they 
were often put into effect, and many ships conveying 
emigrants to America were stopped by order of the 
crown. The sole right of trade within the prescribed 
limits was granted to the company upon the customary 
conditions of paying a royalty to the crown of one-fifth 
of all precious metals found. All persons resident or 
bom within the Umits of the patent were to be free 
denizens," the company might give their officers the 
right to execute martial law, and the ordained magis- 
trates and judges were to have full jurisdiction of life 
and death. The company might fit ships and furnish 
them with arms and ammunition and were granted in 
case of attack power of reprisal upon their assailants 
or any others of the same nation, after permission to 
obtain satisfaction had been granted by the crown. This 
is a clause not met with in earlier patents, but it was 
inserted here in view of the colony's position in the heart 
of the Spanish Indies and the likelihood of attack. The 
commission from the Earl of Warwick under which the 
first expedition had sailed, having been issued in time 
of war, gave fuller powers of hostile action, but the 
powers granted to the company and its servants were 
quite wide enough to cover a good deal of warlike 

In view of the English political situation in 1630, 
perhaps the most interesting provision of the patent is 
the last: **The privileges of the Company shall be con- 
firmed by an Act of Parliament, if Parliament shall 
think fit to agree to the same, and the King promises to 

12 No mention is made of negroes, but it seems to be understood that 
* * person ' * means ' ' person of European descent. ' ' 


give his assent to the confirming Act when passed." A 
similar clause had been added to the Guiana patent of 
1627," issued to the Earl of Warwick and others, but it 
was an unusual provision and may have been inserted 
because so many of the adventurers of the company had 
been members of parliament. It is at any rate notice- 
able that such a clause should have been inserted in an 
official document at a time when Charles I and his min- 
isters were building up a system designed to render 
the crown independent of parliamentary subsidies and 
the accompanying parliamentary interference with the 
executive which they had learned to expect and which 
they so detested. 

Even before the issue of the patent active preparations 
were being made by the company through the deputy- 
governor for the despatch of a strong expedition to 
Providence. The arrangements for arming the expe- 
dition were entrusted to the Earl of Warwick, who on 
January 10, 1631, was given permission by the Privy 
Council" to purchase from the crown and to ship to the 
colony twenty pieces of ordnance with their carriages 
and appurtenances and one last of powder. Each 
member of the company was urged at an early court to 
seek out as many men and boys as were fit to be sent, 
the numbers of which were to be reported to the deputy, 
who would give them directions when and where to 

The emigrants were divided into three classes : 

1. Labourers, or, as we shall afterwards call them, 
planters, who were to cultivate the ground, sharing the 
profits of their toil equally with the company. 

2. Artificers, also to share their profits equally with 

IS Baleigh 'b patent of 1^84 received parliamentary confirmation. Brown, 

1* AcU of Privy Council, CoUmidl, I, p. 265. 


the company, or else to work solely for the company and 
be allowed meat and drink and £5 a year wages. 

3. Apprentices, usually called servants, above four- 
teen years of age, who entered into indentures for a term 
of years and were furnished meat, drink, and clothes 
during their apprenticeship. If any apprentice had any 
special faculty, he was to be allowed a reasonable recom- 
pense for its exercise. For the better encouragement 
of the planters and artificers, apprentices were to be 
allotted to them, their transportation and provisions 
being paid for by the company ; this allotment of servants 
was the usual method adopted by the company to 
discharge their obligations to their officers. 

The vessel chartered for the voyage was the Seaflower 
of two hundred tons burthen, of which John Dyke was 
part owner and John Tanner, Elfrith's fellow com- 
mander of the first voyage, was appointed master. Dyke 
had purchased a large magazine of commodities and laded 
the Seaflower with them from his warehouses in Billiter 
Lane." His conduct in the matter was by no means 
irreproachable and, when the accounts for the voyage 
came to be made up on the return of the vessel early in 
1632, it was found that very high prices had been 
charged. The quality of the provisions for use on the 
voyage and of the commodities to stock the company's 
store in the island, was very inferior and the many 
aspersions cast upon Dyke in the matter, impugning 
either his good faith or his judgment, caused a complete 
breach between him and the company from which he was 
paid out in 1632. 

IB Pym paid Dyke various sums on account as the furnishing went along. 
A sheet of accounts in Pjm 's own handwriting, giving particulars of various 
amounts disbursed, is among the Bouverie MSB. (Hist. MSS. Comm., Tenth 
Beport, App'x, p. 85.) A copy of Purchases Pilgrims cost £2-14-6, and 
six dozen catechisms for the plantation cost 12s. 


The command of the passengers in the Seaflower was 
given to Capt. William Rudyerd,** younger brother of 
Sir Benjamin Rudyerd, who had seen some service in the 
Low Countries and whose military experience therefore 
recommended him to the company for strengthening the 
defences of the colony. The ninety passengers were 
solely men and boys; a barber surgeon was engaged to 
look after their health on the voyage and to remain in 
the island on arrival. It had been found impossible to 
secure the services as minister of the Mr. Ward who had 
been asked for by the emigrants from the Somers Islands, 
the company giving as their reason that they did not 
wish the Somers Islands Company to think their men 
were being drawn away. Grave, experienced ministers, 
it was found, were reluctant to leave their wives and 
children and therefore a young Welshman, Lewis 
Morgan, was sent to care for the spiritual welfare of the 
colonists. The company recommended him as a very 
sufficient scholar for his time and a studious and sober 
man, but their expectations of him were woefully dis- 
appointed and he proved a complete failure. The 
emigrants in general came from localities where the 
personal influence of the adventurers was strong, espe- 
cially from Essex, recruited by the Riches and Sir 
Thomas Barrington, from Northants, recruited by Mr. 
Knightley, and from Oxfordshire by Lord Saye; there 
were also several Cornish and Devon men recruited by 
Pym. In addition a good many Welshmen went out 
among the earlier emigrants and it may be conjectured 
that some of these had been among the earliest sufferers 
from Laud's repressive ecclesiastical policy." 

i« For Rudyerd Pedigree see Harl. Soc., Visit, of London, II, 215. For 
some unexplained reason Budyerd did not sail in the Seafiower, but went out 
in the Little Hopewell, in July, 1631. 

17 Laud was Bishop of St. David's from 1621 to 1628, when he was 
translated to Bath and Wells. 


Discussions went on through December and January, 
1631, as to the form of government to be established and 
the lines to be laid down for the development of the 
colony. The conclusions come to were embodied in a 
series of instructions in thirty-five articles forwarded 
to the governor and council, and in a very long letter 
addressed to Gov. Bell personally. The government of 
the island was entrusted to the governor and a council 
of six members nominated by the company. The gov- 
ernor was to take serious measures only in consultation 
with the council, save in cases where explicit instructions 
had been received from England. The council had power 
to initiate measures, but over these the governor pos- 
sessed an absolute power of veto, though in all cases of 
such veto he was to notify the company in England of 
the facts of the case at the first opportunity. This con- 
stitution was similar to that in force in Virginia during 
the later years of corporate control and was regarded 
as the most suitable form of government for an infant 
colony. Sir Nathaniel Rich and Warwick had vivid 
recollections of the early difficulties of Virginia under 
her first charter, when it was only by chance that Capt. 
Jolm Smith had been able to make himself supreme and 
save the colony in spite of the members of his council." 
The elective element was probably considered unsuitable 
in the council for the first few years, in view of the con- 
tinual discord that existed in the elected Bermuda 
assembly, but that there was no general objection to 
the elective principle in colonial government is plain 
from the company's resort to it in Tortuga in 1635. 

The governor and council were constituted the supreme 
judicial tribunal in all cases, civil and criminal, but allc 
cases of importance were to be proceeded in by way of 
jury empanelled from the planters. Oaths were pre- 

18 If one view of a much-debated case is to be trusted. 


scribed to be taken by the governor, the council, and 
every planter over the age of sixteen; the governor's 
oath fills thirty closely written lines in the journal and 
abounds in scriptural quotations and phrases; extreme 
hostility to the Roman Church is expressed, but no men- 
tion whatever is made of the Church of England, which 
is also tacitly ignored in the planter's oath, another 
form of great length. The question as to the appoint- 
ment of the first governor had much exercised the minds 
of the company at one of their earliest meetings ; it had 
been suggested that the government should be vested 
jointly in Elfrith and Bell, but as it was feared that this 
might lead to friction, the decision was reached that 
Elfrith should be sole governor till his return from the 
colony. On hearing of this decision, the Earl of War- 
wick, who had been absent from the meeting, intimated 
that Elfrith had expressed his content if the government 
were conferred on his son-in-law Bell, solely, as better 
qualified by his experience in the government of the 
Somers Islands, and as he (Elfrith) might often be 
absent from the island on the company's business. This 
of course clinched the matter and Bell's commission was 
signed and sealed on February 7, 1631. 

Capt. Philip Bell was the younger brother of Robert 
Bell, a prominent London merchant and member of the 
common council for Lime Street Ward. Robert Bell was 
deeply interested in colonial enterprise and had been one 
of the most successful factors of the East India Com- 
pany ; he was a member of the Northwest Passage Com- 
pany and one of the commissioners for regulating the 
affairs of Virginia in 1624. Philip Bell became a member 
of the Somers Islands Company in 1624** and his ac- 
quaintance with Dyke, then deputy-governor of the com- 
pany, recommended him for the governorship of the 

19 Jjefroj, Mem, of Bermudas, 1, 375. 



islands in 1626 when Woodhonse had to be superseded. 
He left England for Bermuda in September, 1626, and 
took his seat as governor at the council table for the first 
time on February 16, 1627,*° being then about thirty years 
of age.** Bell's governorship of Bermuda was unmarked 
by any special incident, but he had considerable difficulty 
in quelling a dispute between rival ministers and only 
succeeded in procuring peace by prohibiting all vestry 
meetings in the islands.** That his stay in Bermuda was 
not entirely happy, we have noted in an earlier chapter, 
but Bell must have acquired a large amount of expe- 
rience in dealing with cantankerous councillors and 
discontented planters. 

Capt. Daniel Elfrith was appointed admiral of the 
island and next in precedence to the governor, while the 
members of the first council were Capt. Samuel Axe and 
Lieut. Hugh Price, resident in the island, and Capt. 
William Rudyerd, William Rous, and John Hunt, who 
were to go out in the Seaflower.^^ William Rous owed 
his appointment to his kinship with Pym, being the eldest 
grandson of Sir Anthony Rous of Halton St. Dominick. 
He had married Maria, elder sister of John Robartes,** 
and we shall find him playing an important part in the 
island's affairs. John Hunt was appointed secretary 
of the council, Roger Floud, sheriff, and Thomas Fitch 
and Thomas Jenks, clerks of the company's stores. The 
dignity of the governor and council was jealously 

20 Ihid,, I, 409. 

21 Ligon (Hist, of Barhadoes, p. 24) visited Bell as governor of Bar- 
badoes in 1647 and describes him then as a feeble old man. His will and 
that of his wife have been found hj Mr. N. Damall Davis, the author of 
Cavaliers and Soundheads in Barhadoes, who believes that the Philip Bell 
mentioned in 1669 (Ads of Privy Couticilf Col., I, 506) was a nephew. 

22 Jjetrojf Mem. of Bermudas, I, 469. 

28 Went out in Little Hopewell in July, 1631. 
24 Harl. Soc, Visit, of Cornwall, p. 195. 


regarded by the company, who forwarded a tipstaff or 
mace to be the ensign of government and thus described 
it : **0n the one end upon a plate of silver is a portray- 
ment of the seal of the Company, viz. three islands and 
the words written about it, 'Legem ejus expectabunt/ 
taken out of Isaiah, 42., 4, 'The islands shall wait for his 
law,' which prophecy we hope may in some sort be ful- 
filled by planting the Gospel in those islands. On the 
end of the staff upon a plate likewise of silver are 
engrossed these words ^Innocens liber abit insulam/ 
taken out of Job, 22, 30, *The innocent shall deliver or 
preserve the island,' a good memento at all times when 
we go to God's house or to places of counsel and 
judicature. ' ' 

Minute directions were given as to the ecclesiastical 
arrangements of the island. Two parsonage houses were 
built, one near the harbour and the other on the south- 
west shore; the minister, while he continued single, was 
to be lodged and dieted in the governor's house in order 
to make the governor's family an example to the rest 
of the island. He was to administer the sacrament 
monthly, and the company, with the state of religious 
affairs in England in their minds, summed up their 
desires for his success by saying: **We pray you to 
give him all the encouragement you can, for our sincere 
aim and desire above all things is to plant the true and 
sincere Religion and worship of God, which in the 
Christian world is now very much opposed. ' ' 

The peace with Spain, concluded at Madrid on Novem- 
ber 5, 1630, had been proclaimed in England on the fifth 
of December," and its particulars were conveyed by the 
company to the governor and council. They added, 
however: '*It seems there is no peace between us [and 

^^ Howe* 8 Continuation of Stowe's AnnaU, p. 1046. John Humphry to 
John Winthrop, Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., 4th seriee, VI, 15. 


the Spaniards] in the latitude where you are, and there- 
fore you must be careful and vigilant to prevent their 
attempts, as ever." Even at the present day the great 
body of rules and understandings, that we call inter- 
national law, has at times of crisis very little force to 
restrain the proceedings of belligerent nations and it is 
stUl hard to determine exactly when a state of war begins 
and when it ends. In the seventeenth century outside 
the limits of western Europe even the rudimentary inter- 
national law of the time did not exist, and it was almost 
a recognized maxim that there was **No peace beyond 
the line." The Providence Company were quite right 
in assuming that the treaty would do little to bring to 
an end the chronic state of war in the Indies, and more 
than forty years were to elapse before it was possible 
for England and Spain to agree upon a treaty of peace 
for their American possessions which should outlaw the 
disturbers of it and brand as pirates those who under- 
took belligerent acts in the western seas. To preserve 
the semblance of peace as long as possible the colonists 
were cautioned against taking the offensive against the 
Spaniards, but in order to be prepared to repel attack, 
the greatest efforts were to be devoted to fortification. 
Capt. Axe was to be maintained in command of Warwick 
Fort, already built, and a new fort, called Fort Henry, 
was to be erected to command the watering place in the 
southwest of the island and the approach to the southern 
entrance of the harbour ; of this fort Capt. Rudyerd was 
appointed commander and he was also to act as muster 
master general of the island. Another fort, afterwards 
called Darley's Fort, was to be built upon the peninsula 
upon which Warwick Fort stood, but more to the east- 
ward, so that the enemy's approach to the harbour might 
be further barred. These directions were improved 
upon by Bell and his council and a fourth important 



fort, called Black Rock Fort, was built on Black Point 
and completely guarded the harbour 's southern entrance. 
A private signal was to be arranged to guard against 
dangerous admittances; when the approach of any un- 
known ship was signalled from the lookout station on 
The Mound, the forts were to be manned and all precau- 
tions taken. With regard to the Dutchmen in the island 
the company advised caution. Although the English and 
Dutch in the West Indies were still closely allied in their 
common hostility to Spain, there were signs that their 
ways were beginning to diverge, and the English were 
becoming jealous of the greater success of the Dutch, 
who, it must be remembered, had recently captured the 
great prize of the Plate Fleet** and were engaged in 
building up an empire in Brazil. '*We desire," wrote 
the company, * * that the Dutchmen that are with you, may 
be very well respected that they may have no cause of 
complaint to us or their friends. We give you power to 
yield them such contentment as you, yourself, shall think 
reasonable : yet be careful that you give them no interest 
in any land whatsoever, otherwise than as occupiers and 
manurers. And, being of another nation, you will do 
well to have a care what letters they send out of the 
island. ' ' 

Full directions as to the social organisation of the 
plantation were given by the company. The freemen 
without servants were to be distributed into families of 
at least six or seven persons; of these one was to be 
chief and was to take special care ^Hhat he with his 
whole family, besides public duties, do daily, morning 
and evening, pray together unto God that his blessing 
may be upon them and the whole island. '* Freemen 
were to be allowed to choose their own partners, but 
stores were only to be delivered out of the company's 

2« Under Admiral Piet Hein, 8 September, 1628. 


magazine to the chief of the family, who must give 
security to pay for them out of the produce of his and 
his fellows' plantations. The members of the family 
were to be responsible for one another's good behaviour, 
a device that was a favourite one with the colonial 
organisers of the early seventeenth century ; it had been 
tried without much success in the early years of Vir- 
ginia" and had been prescribed by the Massachusetts 
Company to Endecott for adoption by the servants sent 
out by the company under his charge.^" Neither in 
Massachusetts nor in Providence did the prescribed 
system meet with any measure of success. Within a 
couple of years in Providence it had fallen into compara- 
tive disuse and had been superseded by the ordinary 
plantation system. The first planters, who had chosen 
their own ground and had been tilling it for a year past, 
were not to be dispossessed, but the company would not 
allow them the whole profit of the tobacco they had 
raised. The system of half-profits that had caused so 
much discontent among the Bermuda planters was still 
retained, and the company divided their share of the first 
year's tobacco that w^as to be returned by the Sea flower 
between Elf rith, who received three-fifths of it, and Axe 
who had two-fifths, an arrangement that produced con- 
siderable bickering and left a lasting breach between the 
two men. The planters were specially cautioned against 
falling into the error that had so nearly brought Virginia 
to ruin in its early years, and every family was directed 
to plant twice as much corn as would feed its members. 
Excess of tobacco planting was strictly prohibited and 
liberal rewards were promised to any who would intro- 
duce a staple commodity suitable for growth in the island. 
Elfrith was directed to sail in his pinnace to other West 

2T Bruce, Economic History of Virginia. 
2» Doyle, Puritan ColanieSf I, 95. 


Indian islands, Spanish, EngUsh, or Dutch, in search of 
such a commodity, and of sugar-canes, figs, oranges, 
and other fruit trees for the island's benefit. Unfor- 
tunately Elfrith's partiality for roving did not permit 
him so peaceful a voyage and his journey developed into 
a mere piratical cruise, for which he had to be severely 
reprimanded by the company. 

The apprentices or servants sent out to Providence 
were of quite a different class to the criminals sent to 
Maryland and Virginia and the youths decoyed and 
deported to Barbadoes in later years. Many of them 
were young men of a fairly good social class, who looked 
forward to making a career for themselves and had 
emigrated in hopes of receiving at the end of their two 
or three years * indentures servants of their own. Many 
of the men sent were specially recommended to the 
oflScers and notably one, Pearsall, kinsman and late 
servant to Sir Edmond Moundeford, and Ralph Walcott, 
a near relative of Lord Brooke, who, during his inden- 
tures, was to serve the minister. The system in its 
inception, therefore, was by no means the oppressive one 
that it afterwards became in the colonies; a servant's 
lot in Providence was by no means easy, but if it were, 
as unfortunately it often was, but a form of slavery, 
this was not the intention of its organisers, who had 
simply modelled it upon the apprenticeship system then 
universally in use in England, but who had not yet 
learned the impossibility for white men of hard field 
labour in a tropical climate. 

The total number of passengers in the Seaflower, the 
vessel that was to convey the first emigrants from Eng- 
land to Providence, was ninety and the vessel set sail 
from the Thames in the third week of February, 1631. 
Her voyage must have been a terrible one for her pas- 
sengers; the provisions supplied by Dyke proved very 




bad, the bread was mouldy and the beer sour, and not 
merely was the quality poor, but the master, John 
Tanner, who owned a share in the ship, refused the 
passengers sufficient rations and kept a large quantity 
of provisions for private sale on reaching the island. 
On her voyage the vessel touched at Bermuda and took 
on board a few of Elfrith's adherents, who had been left 
behind in 1630. Providence was reached about the end 
of May, 1631, the governor *s instructions were delivered, 
the surviving passengers landed, and the full life of the 
colony definitely opened. 



In our preliminary survey of West Indian history we 
showed that St. Christopher was planted by Capt. 
Thomas Warner in 1623, and that after a few initial 
difficulties a stable colony had been established, which 
from 1626 onwards was taken under the protection of 
James Hay, Earl of Carlisle. In the spring of 1623 a 
young shipmaster, Anthony Hilton by name,^ bom and 
brought up in the bishopric of Durham, was employed 
by certain merchants of Barnstaple in a voyage to North 
Virginia for the fur trade and for the exploration of 
the Hudson River* in the hope of discovering the North- 
west Passage before the Dutch, who were just beginning 
to undertake the settlement of Manhattan in earnest. 
Sailing by the usual outward course via the West Indies, 
which had not yet been abandoned in favour of Argall's 
more northerly route, Hilton touched at St. Christopher 

1 The account here given is based upon that given in 1675 of the settling 
of St. Christopher and Nevis by John Hilton, the aged store-keeper of Nevis, 
younger brother of Anthony Hilton. The account was despatched to Eng- 
land to be used in the negotiations with France concerning the islands and 
thus came into the possession of Thomas Povey, among whose papers it is 
preserved in the British Museum (Eg., 2395, fo. 503). It agrees with the 
account published by Capt. John Smith in 1629 (Works, p. 903), and, where 
capable of verification, with the extant letters from the islands. It seems 
right, therefore, that credence should be attached to Hilton's statements, 
but his chronology needs some slight emendation. 

2 We learn this from a letter written by Hilton to his mother from on 
board ship at the commencement of the voyage. May 4, 1623. The letter 
is extant among the Manchester Papers. Hist. MSS. Comm., Eighth Beport, 
p. 47, No. 364. 


and there made the acquaintance of Capt. Warner. He 
was much struck with the possibilities of the island for 
tobacco growing and, on his return from America after 
the failure of the Hudson River project, imparted his 
design for planting there to certain Irish gentlemen, who 
proved willing to finance him. Resigning his employ- 
ment with the Barnstaple merchants, he again set sail 
for St. Christopher with a few followers and, arriving 
safe, was granted by Warner a plantation on the wind- 
ward side of the island, where he was the first to settle. 
St. Christopher was not yet free from Carib raids and 
Hilton *s first plantation was soon destroyed. He man- 
aged to escape, however, and, clearing another plantation 
on the leeward side, raised there a good crop of tobacco 
and returned with it in the autumn of 1627 to Ireland, 
where it was disposed of to good advantage. 

The experience Hilton had had, determined him that 
he would do better to plant another island rather than 
remain in St. Christopher; he obtained financial aid, 
therefore, from a London merchant, Thomas Littleton, 
and having procured a patent from the Earl of Carlisle, 
attempted to settle upon the island of Barbuda,* but as 
he and his associates found that island very barren and 
were also dissatisfied with Antigua and Montserrat, they 
ultimately decided to plant the small island of Nevis, 
where they landed on July 22, 1628. Other planters 
were attracted from St. Christopher and by the end of 
the year nearly a hundred and fifty persons were 
assembled in the island under the governorship of 
Anthony Hilton. Warner returned to England from 
St. Christopher towards the end of 1628, leaving as Ms 
deputy in the island one Aston, a personal enemy of 
Hilton's; matters did not long remain on a peaceful 
footing and on an accusation that Aston had attempted 

3 Smith, p. 910. 



to suborn one of his servants to murder him while on 
a visit to St. Christopher, Hilton took up arms in his 
defence. Before open hostilities took place, however, 
a great English ship coming into the harbour, Hilton 
toot refuge on board and returned to Nevis. The news 
of the tumult reaching England, Lord Carlisle deter- 
mined that Hilton was an unsuitable person for governor 
and that it would be well to remove him and replace 
him by one of his own kinsmen. Before the design could 
be carried out by the earl's commissioners despatched 
from England, Hilton got wind of it and fled in a small 
west country ship then loading tobacco in Nevis harbour.* 
Arrived in England, Hilton attempted to make his peace 
with Carlisle, but within a very short time news arrived 
that both St. Christopher and Nevis had been taken by 
a Spanish fleet on September 7, 1629, and the inhabitants, 
both French and English, expelled, though some had 
escaped to the mountains and others had taken refuge on 
adjacent uninhabited islands. On the retirement of 
the Spanish armada, these fugitives returned and a 
provisional government was again established in the 

Sir Thomas Warner, now knighted for his services, 
returned to St. Christopher early in 1630 with further 
colonists, but Hilton had got into diflSculties with Littleton 
over financial matters and only returned to Nevis to 
gather round him a few personal adherents of both 
nationalities and to migrate from the island to a fresh 
home. There are reasons to suppose that Hilton's 
acquaintance among the rovers of all nationalities was 
more extensive and peculiar than was fitting even in those 
days of laxity. His knowledge of the rovers ' resorts led 
him to fix for his new place of settlement upon the island 
of Tortuga off the north coast of Hispaniola and only a 

4 August, 1629. 


few miles away from the opening of the Windward 

This island was far removed from any of the Spanish 
settlements in Hispaniola and had long been used by 
rovers of all nationalities as a resort where they might 
replenish their victuals and refit their ships. It was 
especially a resort for French rovers and since the 
mountains in the centre of the island abounded in wild 
hogs, fresh meat could always be obtained. According 
to De Laet,* the French and Dutch obtained large sup- 
plies there and were accustomed to call Tortuga **L'Isle 
des Porceaux.*' Only a narrow strait, some two miles 
wide, separates Tortuga from Hispaniola, in the forests 
covering the northern shore of which great herds of 
cattle then ran wild. Upon the shores of Cape San 
Nicolas, some forty miles away, a few Dutchmen had 
established themselves and were engaged in making salt 
and curing the flesh of the cattle they slew in the forests.* 

Hilton's colonists, finding Tortuga much to their 
liking, resolved to make it their permanent home and 
despatched some of their number to England to secure 
financial assistance and supplies. They succeeded in 
interesting in their case Dr. Samuel Band,^ a doctor of 
physic well known in the City of London, and John Hart, 
a colonial merchant of the second rank; finding, how- 
ever, that more powerful assistance would be needed 
before they could obtain from the crown the loan of the 
ordnance they required, in the middle of May, 1631, they 
got into touch with the Providence Company and sug- 
gested that an arrangement should be come to for mutual 
benefit. The idea was well received by the company, and 

B De Laet, J., Novus Orhis, French tnmslation, 1640, p. 13. 
• Henee according to the accepted explanation derived from Du Tertre, 
1654 (III, 141), the term "buccaneers" from boucan— dried meat. 
7 Harl Soc., Visit, of London, 11, 184. 


a committee^ consisting of Sir Nathaniel Rich, Pyin, 
Dyke, Barber, and Qraunt, was appointed to carry on 
the negotiations; by the end of May, 1631, terms satis- 
factory to both sides had been agreed upon and the 
planters were taken under the protection of the Provi- 
dence Company. The Tortuga adventurers, — Capt. 
Anthony Hilton, Capt. Christopher Wormeley, and 
Capt. Richard Bragg, resident in Tortuga, Robert 
Wormeley, who was going there. Dr. Samuel Rand, and 
John Hart, — ^were to be permitted to join the Providence 
Company so far as it concerned itself in Tortuga; the 
fee-simple of the island was vested in the company, who 
were to receive twenty per cent of all future commodities 
raised by the Tortuga planters, but who took no respon- 
sibility for past expenses. Each member of the Provi- 
dence Company contributed £70 and each Tortuga 
adventurer £40, towards the cost of a first magazine for 
the island, and it was resolved to send six pieces of 
ordnance with the necessary ammunition for purposes 
of fortification. 

The northern limits of the first patent of the Provi- 
dence Company, 20** N. lat., were such as just to exclude 
Tortuga, which lies in lat. 20*^ 4' N. A petition was, 
therefore, prepared and presented to the king by the 
Earl of Holland, praying for the enlargement of the 
company's grant to include Tortuga and all other un- 
occupied islands lying within three or four degrees of 
their former grant. On June 17, 1631, a grant" was 
accordingly issued extending the limits of the company's 
rights to all islands lying between six and twenty-four 
degrees from the equinoctial line in north latitude and 
between the degrees of longitude of the earlier grant 
(290°-310*') so that these islands were not in the actual 

s C. 8, P. Dam., 17 June, 1631. A copy of the enlarged grant in Jeasop's 
writing is extant among the Sloane MSS. (Brit. Mus., Sloane, 973.) 


possession of any other Christian prince nor were 
formerly granted to any of his Majesty *s subjects. This 
enlarged grant immensely extended the company's 
opportunities, for the parallel of 24*^ N. passes through 
the Florida Channel and the Bahamas, while 6*^ N. runs 
well to the southward of the Isthmus of Panama, and 
the whole of the central portion of the West Indies was, 
therefore, claimed as a field for English colonisation 
after the light-hearted manner of the time. 

A large amount of discussion took place concerning 
the despatch of the required supplies, and it was 
strongly suggested that it would be well to undertake 
nothing until the spring of 1632, when the prevalence 
of the ** norths *'• would keep the Spanish fleets in port 
and the company's vessel might reach Tortuga in safety. 
In the end, however, the urgent need of the colonists for 
an immediate supply prevailed and directions were 
given to Hart, who had been engaged as the company's 
factor or ** husband," to charter a small vessel for a 
voyage of seven or eight months. He secured the Ldttle 
Hopewell, a small vessel of some sixty tons with seven 
guns, at the rate of £32 a month, the owners being also 
allowed the free freight of twelve cwt. of tobacco. 
Matthew Harbottle, who had already served the company 
in the first voyage, was appointed master at the rate 
of £4 per month, a rate of pay somewhat higher than 
that usual in the royal navy of the period.^® It was 
decided, owing to the diflSculty that would be experienced 
in raising any considerable number of servants in such 
a time of good employtnent," that it would be better to 

9 Storms and north winds prevailing during the months of December, 
January, and February. The large Spanish war vessels were very unsea- 
worthy and remained in port during the winter. 

10 Qowes, The Boyal Navy, II, 13. 

11 1630 had been a year of plague and scarcity; 1631, as we see from 
this entry in the records, was, on the contrary, prosperous. 


postpone the sending of many men from England and to 
trust to recruiting men for the colony in the West Indies. 
Many of the English plantations in the Caribbees and 
notably Nevis, the company heard, were in a bad way 
and were likely to dissolve, so that the new plantation 
if it offered good prospects would probably attract 
those who deserted, and by this means its strength might 
be rapidly increased. 

The government of the island was placed in the hands 
of Capt. Anthony Hilton, who was to be succeeded in 
case of death by Capt. Christopher Wormeley ; a council 
of six persons was nominated, and Anthony Roberts was 
sent out from England as clerk of stores in charge of 
the magazine. Careful directions were drawn up for 
the fortification of the harbour, which lay on the shore 
nearest Hispaniola, and, to mark the change in the status 
of the island, it was resolved that its name should be 
changed and that it should henceforward be called the 
** Island of Association. ' ' It was not expected that the 
prosperity of the new colony would depend mainly upon 
the planting of such commodities as tobacco and cotton, 
which were looked to in Providence, but it was hoped 
that a large revenue would be derived from the export 
of the dye-woods growing in the forests that covered the 
island. The introduction into Europe of new dyeing 
materials had been a noticeable result of the opening-up 
of the West Indian trade during the latter half of the 
sixteenth century. Among the most important of these 
dyes were the red dyes derived from various woods, 
known as logwood, Brazil or braziletta wood, and Cam- 
peachy wood, the best qualities of which grew on the 
shores of Yucatan, but which were also plentiful in many 
of the Caribbees. Perhaps one of the most potent induce- 
ments to the Providence Company to aid the Tortuga 
adventurers, was the fact that large quantities of these 



valuable woods might be cut and exported from the 
island, and one of the cardinal provisions of the original 
agreement was that no merchantable wood was to be cut 
in the island but under license from the company, who 
were to receive one-fifth of the proceeds. Unfortunately, 
however, stringent legal enactments" were in force in 
England against the importation of these woods, which 
had been fraudulently used by dyers and did not in their 
hands produce fast colours. It was necessary, there- 
fore, to carry the wood to France or Holland, where the 
use was permitted, and this rendered the restriction of 
cutting to the company's licensees incapable of enforce- 
ment, and the diflSculties with which the colony of Asso- 
ciation had to contend from the beginning were due to 
the cutting of wood by interlopers with the connivance 
of the company's oflScers. 

The Little Hopewell was got ready for sea by the 
middle of July, 1631, and, after embarking her passengers 
and goods, sailed from the Thames on July 23. Her 
master had received directions that, after landing the 
magazine and ordnance at Association, he was to proceed 
to Providence, there to deliver a letter for the governor 
and council and to land Rudyerd and Rous, who had not 
sailed in the Seaflower as originally intended. The 
master was to carry from Association to Providence 
any surplus corn that was available and on his return 
voyage was to lade with tobacco and wood at Associa- 
tion, which cargo he was to bring to Europe. The 
voyage was successfully prosecuted along these lines and 
the Little Hopewell returned to England on April 20, 
1632. What happened to her cargo of wood does not 
appear, but the presumption is that by the connivance 

12 23 Eliz., cap. 9. Continual attempts to smuggle the prohibited dyes into 
England were being made, and the lucrative patent place of searcher for 
prohibited dje-stuif was much sought after. See C. 8. P. Dom, 


of the Earl of Ancram, who was then patentee for 
logwoody it was quietly smuggled into England and 
disposed of. 

Further emigrants to Association were despatched by 
the Charity in May, 1632, under the lead of Samuel 
Filby," who took out his wife and several servants. 
He had been a planter in St. Christopher and was thus 
experienced in West Indian planting and looked forward 
to a prosperous career in the island. The accord between 
the company and the Tortuga planters was not long 
uninterrupted, for before the close of 1631 it was learned 
by a ** stranger" English ship, the Whale, touching at 
Association on her way home from Providence, that it 
had been found impossible to recruit wood-cutters at 
Nevis and St. Christopher as expected, and that much 
wood was being cut in the island by French and Dutch 
with the connivance of Capt. Hilton, who was pocketing 
the proceeds for himself and exporting the wood in 
French and Dutch ships. Many objections were, there- 
fore, made by the adventurers to subscribing towards a 
second magazine that had been promised for 1632. They 
felt that they had no assurances as to the future inten- 
tions of the planters and that, if the prohibition of trad- 
ing with interlopers was incapable of enforcement, there 
was no guarantee whatever of a return for their expendi- 
ture. Pym, however, maintained that Association ought 
to be looked upon in connection with Providence and as 
providing a second string to the company's bow. When 
responsibility for the island was assumed, a magazine 
had been promised for October, 1632, and Pym held that 
the promise having once been given, it should be adhered 
to. He agreed that Englishmen were unsuited to the 
labour of wood-cutting in tropical forests, where ** there 

IS A letter from him is extant among the Barrington MSS. 


was an abundance of offensive flies^" but he pointed to 
the fact that the Dutch ships carrying negroes to the 
Spaniards passed close by the island on their voyage, 
and suggested that it would be possible to obtain from 
them a supply of labour well suited to the work. Pym 
finally carried his point and a magazine was despatched 
to the island according to promise about the end of July, 
1632. A minister, Mr. Key, was engaged to care for the 
spiritual welfare of the colonists and sailed by the same 
ship ; he must have found a very arid field for his labours, 
for the class of colonists in Association was very differ- 
ent from that in Providence. The more adventurous 
spirits from St. Christopher and Nevis, augmented by 
rough woodsmen of at least three nationalities, many of 
whom had spent years roving the Indies for plunder, 
were not promising disciples for a young minister chosen 
by the straitest of English Puritans. Mr. Key's stay 
in the island was by no means happy, and within a couple 
of years we find him obtaining permission from the 
company to proceed to Providence, where he found 
employment with Capt. Camock's expedition to the 
mainland of Central America. \ 

Pym's suggestion of the possibility of employing 
negroes for wood-cutting must have been based upon 
private information received from Hilton, for by 
February, 1633, Hilton had already purchased forty 
negroes and was employing them in the island. So profit- 
able did the new departure appear that the company 
were desirous of entering into an arrangement with him, 
whereby twenty of these negroes were to become their 
property and were to be employed under his direction 
and along with his men in the wood-cutting, the charge 
of supervision and the profits to be equally divided. 
They directed him to procure more negroes on their 
account from the Dutch, and if it were found that there 


were more than could be profitably employed in Asso- 
elation, the extra hands were to be sent to Providence. 

The first intelligence of the safe arrival of the Sea- 
flower at Providence reached England in December, 
1631, letters from the island being brought by an English 
ship, the Whale, that had touched there on her voyage 
through the West Indies.^^ She had also touched at 
Association and brought thence some sixty cwt. of 
tobacco, the produce of the plantation, which proved to 
be of good quality and was disposed of to advantage. 
By the same or some other * * stranger ' ' ship came George 
Needham, who in 1629 had been left behind by Capt. 
Camock to plant tobacco in Henrietta. Needham brought 
with him a good supply of tobacco, which was purchased 
from him by the company, but his carriage and behaviour 
were so offensive to them that they refused him any 
further assistance. He apparently felt it as a grievance 
that no steps were to be taken for the carrying on of 
the plantation he had begun in Henrietta, and was in- 
cautious enough to express his dissatisfaction openly. 
However, being summoned before the treasurer, Pym, 
and expressing his contrition, some assistance was 
granted to him for his more pressing needs and, on 
promising never to repeat his harsh words against the 
company and Capt. Elf rith, he was told that he should 
be employed in the next ship to Providence and have 
servants allotted to him. The company was the readier 
to pardon Needham as he had had long experience as 
a planter in the West Indies, both in Bermuda and in 
St. Christopher, and such experience was a valuable 
asset in a new colony. 

14 From letters of about this date from New England it would appear 
that the Whale had sailed to Massachusetts with emigrants in 1630 and 
thence to the West Indies in the hopes of picking up a cargo. Many ships 
did this in later years. 


The Seaflower arrived in England on her return voy- 
age from Providence on April 2, 1632, and for the first 
time the company were placed in possession of full 
information concerning the happenings in the colony 
and the steps necessary to place matters on a satisfactory 
footing. The misusage of the Sea flower's passengers on 
the outward voyage and the bad and insuflScient provi- 
sions supplied to them have already been mentioned; 
not only the provisions but also the magazine she took 
out for the supply of the planters proved very bad. 
Dyke had supplied articles of the very poorest quality 
and had charged the company full prices. They, expect- 
ing to be recouped by the planters and ignorant of the 
facts, had fixed their retail prices accordingly, and in 
consequence bitter murmurings resulted. To overcharge 
for worthless goods was by no means a novel proceeding 
on the part of Dyke, and many of the old Bermuda 
planters must have remembered with disgust that such 
malpractices had characterised his proceedings towards 
the earlier colony,** while he was the bitterest opponent 
of the policy of allowing freedom of trade to the planters. 
As has been shown, the complaints of the company 
resulted in Dyke's practical dismissal and from thence- 
forward Pym, as treasurer, took the oversight of the 
provisions and supplies sent to the island, being assisted 
by the company's husband, John Hart. 

The Seaflower had left Providence on her homeward 
voyage on December 21, 1631, and steered direct for 
home by the usual course through the Florida Channel. 
On her way between Cuba and Florida she was attacked 
by a Spanish man-of-war from Havana and compelled 
to fight her way clear. The attack must have been a 
fierce one, for she was three times boarded, but the 

18 See the full account of the proceedings relative to the attempts of 
Delbridge of Barnstaple. Lefroy, Mem. of Bermudaa, I. 


Spaniards were finally repulsed with great loss. Six 
or eight men were wounded and four Englishmen killed, 
including Mr. Essex, a planter who had gone out in the 
first voyage but was now returning to England without 
the company's permission. Capt. Tanner, who had lost 
an eye in the fight, was warmly commended for his 
prowess, but the company now began to realise more 
clearly the risks they ran in establishing a colony in the 
heart of the Indies, and it was resolved that even more 
stringent precautions than before must be taken for 
the immediate arming and fortification of the colony. 

Under Bell's careful guidance the immigrants from 
the Somers Islands, after clearing the two acres of 
ground allotted to each of them of the timber and under- 
growth that covered it, had begun by planting corn.** 
When their future subsistence was thus assured, the rest 
of their ground was planted with tobacco, the crop they 
had always been accustomed to raise in Bermuda. 
Indian com and pease were found to grow very rapidly 
and bear excellently, so that when the Seaflower arrived, 
there was ample store of provisions to maintain both the 
old planters and the new arrivals. These also were at 
once set to plant com and by October, 1631, they had 
provided suflScient to maintain themselves, for it was 
found that two or three crops of corn a year might be 
raised in the tropical climate of the island. The second 
and third crops were hardly as abundant as the first, 
and were more subject to attacks of blight, but the fer- 
tility of the soil astonished the newcomers. A large pro- 
portion of the servants sent out in the Seaflower were 
set to finish the work on Warwick Fort under Axe's 

i^Manj of these details are derived from a private letter written from 
Providence to Pym by Wm. Rudjerd and Wm. Rous in October, 1633. The 
letter is now among the Bouverie MSS. at Brymore, Somerset. Hist. MSS. 
Comm., Tenth Report, App'x, p. 87. 


directions and the company's half -share of all provisions 
raised was allotted to their maintenance. In October, 
1631, some eighty more Bermudians arrived and set to 
work with a will in clearing their ground. By the end 
of November they had planted their corn, but the dry 
season was coming on, the crop did not flourish, they 
found that the excess of stores the earlier immigrants 
had accumulated was insuflScient to fill so many extra 
mouths, and the last comers were the first to feel the 
dearth. As was so often the case in the early days of 
a new colony, it was found that the immigrants were of 
very unequal capabilities, and that some of them showed 
a strong distaste for hard work. Those who had by their 
efforts provided for their subsistence, were unwilling to 
deprive themselves for the benefit of newcomers, espe- 
cially when those newcomers were as aUen in sympathy 
to them as were many of the Bermudians. The religious 
difficulties that were agitating England were repro- 
duced in little in the Somers Islands and although those 
who accompanied Bell to Providence mainly belonged 
to the Puritan party, there was an admixture of others, 
and the eighty arrivals in October, 1631, were men who 
had been gladly spared from the Somers Islands as 
undesirable members of a hard-working society. The 
immigrants from England were practically all strict 
Puritans of the same type as those who were leaving 
England for Massachusetts Bay and, being by far the 
stronger party in the island at this time (1632), aimed 
at a strictness of religion and discipline that their fellows 
were ill suited to observe. 

Gov. Bell, although Puritan in sympathy, had shown 
during his government of Bermuda that he would not 
sacrifice the well-being of a colony to religious differ- 
ences, and he attempted to preserve a balance between 
the parties and to insist upon hard and unremitting work 


by aU for the strengthening and fortification of the 
island. Lewis Morgan, the young Welsh minister of 
the settlement, was not prepared to submit to the gov- 
ernor's control and, aided by a planter, Mr. Essex, 
fomented and focused the discontent of the planters 
against both Bell and the company. It may be that 
Morgan and some of his adherents were sincere in basing 
their discontent on religious grounds, but from their 
complaints we may guess that, while Morgan 's bitterness 
was occasioned by disillusionment and by finding that 
his work was a great deal more difficult and uncongenial 
than he had anticipated, many of the planters were 
actuated in the main by their hostiUty to the company's 
insistence upon the same system of profit sharing that 
had been so much objected to in the Somers Islands. 

Morgan voiced his own complaints in a private letter 
despatched by the Seaflower to Sir Nathaniel Rich, while 
the general objections of the planters were embodied by 
him in a petition from them to the company and 
entrusted to Mr. Essex, who secured his passage by 
pretending to have received permission from the com- 
pany to return home when he desired. As we have 
seen, Essex was slain in the Sea flower's fight oflf Florida 
and the whole of his papers, showing the genesis of the 
petition, fell into the company's hands when the vessel 
reached England. Morgan's letter to Sir Nathaniel 
Rich was ''so stuffed with bitter expressions" and so 
avowed ''a spirit inclined to sedition and mutiny," that 
the company at once resolved that he must be sent home 
without delay. They saw in him the author or at least 
the fomenter of so much seeming discontent among the 
planters that he might cause a revolt in the island from 
the company's government. Preparations for the des- 
patch of reinforcements to the island by the new ship, 
the Charity, were far advanced when the Seaflower 


arrived, and in order to avoid delay at this critical 
juncture, the sailing was expedited as much as possible 
and full directions for dealing with the crisis were sent 
out to the governor. Bell was directed to suspend 
Morgan at once from the ministry without vouchsafing 
him any explanation. A day or two before the vessel 
was to sail on her return, he was to cause Morgan's 
arrest, sending him at once on board ship and allowing 
him no intercourse with those on shore. He was to be 
brought home in strict confinement and the company 
promised to deal severely with him when he reached 
England. The governor carried out these directions with 
promptitude, and the culprit came before the court on 
the Charity's return, March 15, 1633. His long confine- 
ment had already induced a contrite spirit and, after a 
very severe rating by Pym and Sir Nathaniel Rich, he 
humbly begged the pardon of the company. They did 
not desire to carry matters to an extreme against the 
person of a minister, however unworthy, and permitted 
him to make a humble acknowledgment in writing of his 
mutinous, unworthy, and uncharitable conduct as suffi- 
cient amends. Payment of his salary was refused, but 
to maintain him until he could secure further employ- 
ment, a gratuity of £5 was bestowed on him through the 
treasurer, and the company agreed to allow him a small 
sum for the books he had left behind him in the island. 

Though Morgan was thus easily dealt with, to settle 
the complaints in the planters * petition was a much more 
difficult task. What, perhaps, galled the company most 
was Morgan's insinuation to the planters that the 
adventurers were solely and covetously desirous of profit 
for themselves and that they put on a hypocritical show 
of godliness for the encompassing of ungodly ends. To 
answer this most unjust and unworthy accusation, the 
company devoted three closely written folio pages of 


their letter to the governor and some extracts from this 
letter give ns an indication of their aims in founding 
the colony. The planters* ''bitter insultings and 
infamous libels are such as it behooves not one Christian 
man to write to another, * * and the company wonder how 
men can so much forget their duty to God and their 
respect to those '*who have sought their good safety 
and welfare both for soul and body not [the adven- 
turers*] own profit as some . . . have published there 
and sent home written. * * Each adventurer has expended 
£600 at least ;" while in other plantations £25 or £50 was 
the usual share and if a man laid out £100 before return 
of profit, ' * he was accounted a great Patriot, but scarce 
a wise Adventurer.'* The planters gain a comfortable 
subsistence abroad, which they never do at home, ''and 
have likewise means to do God and their countrymen 
great service in spreading Religion and advancing the 
honour of the English name in those, till of late, almost 
unknown parts of the world.** The planters are like 
the Israelites for their murmurings. "It is nothing to 
them to have been the first men that have laid that 
foundation of so great a work, to raise an eternal monu- 
ment to their never-dying Glory in propagating God*s 
true religion and spreading the English empire. Oh, no ! 
but the Planters must be presently rich, the Adventurers 
poor and, as much as in you lies, discouraged wholly 
from proceeding in that noble work of providing a refuge 
for those oppressed for righteousness sake." The 
company are glad to learn that there are still some 
godly and discreet persons left, who are steadfast like 
Joshua. Let them admonish the guilty and threaten 
their return home with shame and dishonour; for the 
sake of the righteous and for their sake only, the Adven- 

17 That is, up to the date when this letter was written, May 10, 1632. 


tnrers hope God will send his blessing upon the colony 
and multiply it exceedingly. 

Treasurer Pym's hand is visible in many of the 
phrases of this lengthy reproof, but his practical mind 
could not be contented with mere admonition without 
an attempt to remove any real causes of discontent that 
might exist. The elements hostile to the Puritan atmos- 
phere of the colony must be at once removed and direc- 
tions to this end were given: ''Whereas complaint is 
made of the superstitious and evil disposition of some 
of those that came by the Seaflower and other ships from 
the Somers Islands, we would have you to send them 
back by this ship [the Charity] to their former habita- 
tions if the season of the year shall be convenient so 
that the voyage may not be prevented thereby.*' Strict 
instructions were given to the master that he was to 
land these passengers at Bermuda and nowhere else. 
That the company did not mean to be respecters of per- 
sons in their dispensation of justice was shown by their 
original intention to order the trial of Capt. William 
Rudyerd on charges of drunkenness, swearing, ill-car- 
riage towards the governor, and other misdemeanours 
since he had been in the island, but on the appeal of his 
brother. Sir Benjamin, and the Earl of Holland, himself, 
it was finally resolved that if he were a reformed man 
and no longer likely to breed division or hinder the pro- 
gress of religion, he should not be brought to trial but 
merely admonished. His drunkenness caused the com- 
pany to write: **That by the taking away the cause of 
some abuses we may in some measure prevent their 
increase, we do order that all the strong waters out of 
our magazine that come in this ship or that shall here- 
after come in any other ship from us, shall be taken into 
our store and be issued thence by our oflScers according 
to directions from you [the governor], excepting such 



private supplies as shall be sent from particular friends 
to persons well-qualified with temperance/' It was 
learned that some in the island had sent to England for 
cards, dice, and tables. Bell was directed that if any 
of these baubles should arrive, he was to have them pub- 
licly burned and strictly to prohibit the use of such 
ungodly things under severe penalties. Lawful recrea- 
tions, however, such as chess and shooting, might be per- 
mitted and even encouraged as long as they did not 
conflict with work. 

That the planters might have encouragement to piety 
and the furtherance of the true religion, three ministers 
were sent, Arthur Rous as lecturer, Hope Sherrard" as 
minister of New Westminster, and Mr. Ditloff as min- 
ister of the southwest part of the island. Arthur Rous^* 
was the fifth son of Sir Anthony Rous by his first wife 
and was thus the younger brother of Francis Rous, and 
Pym's step-brother. He had married a daughter of 
Nicholas Roope, a shipowner of Dartmouth, who had 
many ships engaged in the privateering trade, and by 
her Rous had a large family who accompanied him to 
Providence ; it was therefore considered convenient that 
a house should be built for him near New Westminster 
and that he should preach a lecture there on some week- 
day. Hope Sherrard's early history cannot be traced; 
he played a very important part in the island's story 
and some letters from him have been preserved. Ditloff 
seems to have been one of those poor Palatine ministers, 
dispossessed by the Spaniards, on whose behalf many 
collections were made in English churches about this 
time. The company enjoined respect and attention to 

18 His name is spelt Sherhard in the records and in some contemporary 
accounts he is called Sherwood. His extant letters are always signed as 

i»HarL Soc., Vmt. of Camwdll (1620), p. 195. 


the ministers as an aid to piety. '*We advise you all 
therefore as to an humble and sincere obedience to their 
message and a devout and respective carriage towards 
their persons. At the Council Table they shall sit cov- 
ered, but at such times as they deliver their opinion, we 
require that they stand uncovered. . . . That they may 
have much encouragement to spend their times and 
pains in the service of your souls and that God may make 
their endeavours effectual to the confining of those that 
stand, to the increase of Grace and the conversion of 
those who are yet strangers from God to the knowledge 
of his Grace, wherein our prayers shall not be wanting, 
and to the attainment whereof our charge of their enter- 
tainment shall not seem burdensome, we would have you 
presently assign unto them all proportionable quantities 
of land and to take some course that their servants may 
be provided for with diet, lodging and washing till they 
shall be able so to dispose of themselves that they may 
make convenient provision for their maintenance.^* 

The company's care for the providing of the island 
with worthier ministers than Morgan, was blessed in the 
case of Sherrard, but Rous only lived a few months after 
landing, being carried off by fever in 1634. Ditloff 
proved faint-hearted and returned to England in dis- 
grace in May, 1634, leaving Sherrard as the only minister 
of the colony. Ditloff was accused in letters to the com- 
pany of a levity of conduct unbecoming in a minister and 
was called upon to exculpate himself before receiving his 
salary. A vivid little glimpse of the time is afforded in 
his answers to the charge; in reply to Pym's enquiry 
whether it was true that he and others used to sing on the 
Sabbath Day songs that were not divine, he answered 
that ''Mr. Rous taught him songs, called catches, the 
meaning of which word he understood not, the matter of 
which was the motion of creatures as the nightingale and 


the like. ' * Rous and Sherrard sang with him, but never 
on the Lord^s Day. Ditloff was not content to bear the 
attacks made upon him without retaliation, and told 
Pym that he was informed that many of the planters 
who went out with him thought Rous insufficient, **not 
being able to pray extemporary and would soldier-like 
beat his men.*' **If these things were so,*' he wrote, 
^^Mr. Rous was fitter for a buff -coat than a cassock, and 
he did not think himself to have been at fault in the 
opinion.** The company apparently did not think so 
either, for in the end Ditloff was paid the money owing 
to him, and departed into his own country. 

These trivial details have their importance in our 
enquiry as showing the type of society the company and 
some of the colonists were aiming to establish in the 
island, and as suggesting the similarity of the colony in 
its inception to Massachusetts. The founders of both 
wished to provide a refuge for the oppressed victims of 
Laud's ecclesiastical regime, each was to be a sanctuary 
where the Puritans might worship God after their own 
fashion, each was to be a society ordered according to 
the dictates of religion and governed with justice and 
equity, but upon the strictest Puritan pattern. In each 
colony there was a section of the community hostile to 
Puritanism; in Massachusetts the earlier settlers, such 
as Morton, Gardiner, and Oldham, were for a time a real 
danger to the fruition of the ideals of its rulers and had 
to be suppressed or driven out; in Providence the 
** superstitious " Bermudians had to be got rid of. But, 
whereas their conditions of comparative isolation enabled 
the rulers of Massachusetts to found a pure theocracy 
that lasted unchanged for forty years, the situation of 
Providence, the enervating effects of its tropical climate, 
and the ever-present temptation to prey upon the neigh- 
bouring Spaniards, proved fatal to the Puritan ideal. 


and before it had been settled five years converted the 
island into a mere fortified base, whence privateering 
warfare might be waged against the Spanish Indies. 




That the foundation of an ideal community and the 
pursuit of a profitable investment for trading capital are 
incompatible aims has been so often demonstrated that 
the proposition may nowadays be regarded as a truism ; 
but even in the seventeenth century experience had 
shown that it is impossible to combine business with sen- 
timent, however noble. The Pilgrim Fathers of 1620 
had been financed for their voyage across the Atlantic 
by London merchants interested in fishing and the fur 
trade, but the arrangement led to so much friction that 
in 1627 the settlers bought up the whole of the stock by 
instalments and became entirely independent of outside 
control. John Whitens company of Dorchester adven- 
turers at Cape Ann in 1623 found it impossible to satisfy 
the demands for profits of their backers in England and 
within a year or two were abandoned to support them- 
selves as best they could. The only attempt at Puritan 
colonisation that succeeded, the colonisation of Massa- 
chusetts, succeeded because of the inherent difference 
between it and other attempts. Except in the early ven- 
ture at Salem, Massachusetts was never a plantation 
financed in the main by adventurers remaining at home 
in England and bound down by their English ties and 
interests; it was a migration of settlers almost after 
the pattern of a Greek colonisation, a migration of men 
depending solely upon their own resources and expecting 
no return for the capital they had invested save what 


they aided in acquiring by their own personal efforts and 

The Providence Company from the start attempted 
to combine two divergent aims, and although its mem- 
bers subscribed largely and generously to the enterprise 
at first, yet the capital they contributed was an invest- 
ment and not a gift. From the first even the more 
strongly Puritan members of the company, such as Saye 
and Pym, expected to receive some return upon their 
expenditure, though they desired at the same time to 
found a community upon the strictest Puritan pattern; 
the merchants, however, to whom the financing of 
schemes of exploration and colonisation was a regular 
matter of business, looked upon the colony merely as a 
likely speculation and had little sympathy with the 
aspirations of their fellow members. A very short time 
convinced them that there was little profit to be obtained 
and, as we have seen. Dyke, who had attempted to make 
a profit out of the scheme at the expense of his fellow 
adventurers, abandoned the company in 1632, his share 
being purchased by Saye, Rudyerd, Pym, and Graunt. 
Gabriel Barber, a man of finer fibre, if of less business 
capacity, also left the company in 1632; his enterprises 
had for some years been succeeding ilP and he now found 
the necessity of realising his investments in order to 
stave off bankruptcy. In return for the reimbursement 
by the company of his out-of-pocket expenses upon his 
share, viz., £500, he assigned to them his five allotments 
of land in the Somers Islands and these were hence- 
forward the joint property of the Providence Company 
and were leased and worked by the well-known merchant, 
Humphrey Slany. For the expenses he had been put to 
for the first voyage, the company reimbursed Barber by 

1 C. 8. p. East Indies, 4 March, 1625. Sale bj Barber of £1200 of East 
India Stock. Other similar entries. 


the payment of £200 cash, a composition that was also 
offered to Dyke, but at first refused. Sir Nathaniel Rich 
was reimbursed for his expenditure by the assignment 
of one-quarter of Dyke's share in the company without 
payment. Barber did not long survive his financial ship- 
wreck and died some time in 1633. 

It had been resolved in the first six months of the com- 
pany's existence that, in order to keep the control in the 
hands of the original members, not more than twenty 
whole shares should ever be created, but it was found 
impracticable to refuse absolutely to admit new members, 
and the difficulty was got over by allowing members, 
while increasing the total sum invested, to let some por- 
tion of the new capital be provided by their friends, por- 
tions of the whole share being assigned to them and the 
voting power of an entire share being wielded by a 
majority of those owning it. It is unnecessary to enter 
into details as to the way in which these fractions of 
shares changed hands, though it is possible to trace them 
all in the records. A list of the new members, however, 
will show that the company after Dyke 's retirement was 
entirely confined to members of the Puritan party and 
that the merchant element had abandoned the enterprise. 
Henry Darley, who joined the company in November, 
1632, was a personal friend of Pym 's and a strong Puri- 
tan; he and his younger brother, Richard, were sons of 
Sir Richard Darley* of Buttercrambe in Yorkshire and 
Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Gates, possibly a rela- 
tive of Sir Thomas Gates, the governor of Virginia. 
Darley played an important part among the English 
Puritans and both he and his brother were prominent 
members of the ruling oligarchy under the Long Parlia- 
ment and the Commonwealth. Darley took great interest 
in the projects for Puritan emigration and subscribed 

s HarL Soc, ViHt. of London, 1, 216. 


£50 to the funds of the Massachusetts Bay Company 
before May, 1628.* He and his brother offered to the 
Bev. Thomas Shepard, when silenced for Nonconformity 
by Archbishop Land, £20 a year towards his support/ 
Sir Thomas Cheeke of Pirgo, Essex,' was married to 
Essex Bichy sister of the Earl of Warwick, and had been 
a member of the Council for Virginia, 1612-1620. He sat 
in all parliaments from 1624 .to the Long Parliament, 
for various Essex seats, and was a strong Puritan. His 
daughter, Essex Cheeke, married as her second husband, 
Edward Montagu, Viscount Mandeville, about whose 
connection with the company we shall have much to say 
later. James Fiennes was the eldest son of Lord Saye 
and became later second viscount. His younger brother 
was the celebrated Colonel Nathaniel Fiennes of the Civil 
War. John Michell, who bought a quarter of Sir 
Nathaniel Rich's share in May, 1633, was probably a 
cousin of Bich, whose mother was a daughter of John 
Michell, sheriff of London.* ^illiam Ball, who bought 
half of Sherland 's share on his death, may have been the 
William B^U who in 1634 was attorney of the oflSce of 
pleas in the Exchequer^ and must have been known to 
Pym and Graunt. John Upton of Lucton, Devon,' who 
purchased a quarter of Pym ^s share in November, 1632, 
and thenceforward acted as the company's agent in the 
west of England, had married Pym *s half-sister, Dorothy 
Rous. He did a good deal of work for the company and 
subscribed several sums to their capital. 

By May, 1633, £1025 had been paid upon each whole 
share, of which Lord Brooke held two, but when fresh 

s ArchtBologia Americana, ILI, Izzz. 
4 Autobiography of Shepard, p. 36. 
s Brown, Genesis, II, 883. 

• Brown, n, 978. 

T Harl. Soc., Visit, of London, 11, 40. 

• Visit, of Devon, p. 293. Visit, of Cornwall, p. 195. 


capital had to be raised in June, 1634, it was decided 
to introduce an arrangement somewhat similar to the 
modem device of preference shares. The sums now 
paid in as multiples of a quarter-share (£256 5s.) were 
to be reimbursed and receive dividends from the profits 
gained before anything was paid on the original shares. 
Practically all the adventurers subscribed to this new 
stocky and three new adventurers, William Woodcock, 
Thomas Bamardiston, and William Boswell, also joined. 
John Hart, the first ** husband^' of the company, died 
in 1633, leaving his affairs in a somewhat involved con- 
dition. The arrangement of giving full power to the 
^^ husband" to act in the company's name had been 
found to lead to abuse and it was determined by Pym 
that a new system of management was necessary. His 
interest in the company and its projects had been steadily 
growing and he was now prepared to place his business 
capacity entirely at the service of the scheme. The new 
husband, William Woodcock, who was engaged on the 
recommendation of Lord Brooke, was to be merely the 
company's executive agent to carry out the plans drawn 
up by the treasurer. The details of all arrangements 
were to be submitted to and decided upon by Pym, and 
no orders were to be valid unless they were signed by 
him and by Secretary Jessop. Woodcock, however, was 
allowed to have a share in the business and subscribed 
to the preference stock. 

Thomas Bamardiston,* a London merchant, engaged 
in the East India Company's trade, was a near relative 
of Richard Baiightley of Fawsley and brother of Sir 
Nathaniel Bamardiston, M. P. for Suffolk in 1628-1629 
and an intimate friend of John Winthrop.^*^ He was an 
important member of the Puritan party in the City of 

» Visit, of London, IT, 61. 
10 Life of Winthrop, I, 393. 


London^ but, like the other merchants, he did not long 
remain connected with the Providence Company, prob- 
ably being dissatisfied with the profits and finding a 
far more fertile field for the employment of his capital 
in the East Indian trade. William Boswell, at one time 
secretary to the Earl of Carlisle, was deeply engaged 
in 1629-1630 in the attempts to settle **Carolana** with 
Hngnenots. His slight connection with the Providence 
Company owes its importance to this fact. 

The fullest details for a treatment of the company's 
financial history are contained in the records but they 
hardly appear to afford sufficient matter of interest to 
detain us. It must suffice here to say that a large part 
of the company's business was carried on in very modem 
fashion by means of short-dated loans, largely from 
wealthy Puritans such as the Earl of Lincoln and Lord 
Grey of Groby, but also from other capitalists such as 
Edward Cecil, Viscount Wimbledon, and from London 
merchants in the ordinary way of business. Pym man- 
aged all these transactions and must have been kept very 
busy, for he was continually reminding the members of 
the company of the debts that remained to be paid off 
and suggesting to them means of raising money for the 
purpose. The general total indebtedness of the company 
was a continually increasing amount and great com- 
plexity was introduced into the accounts by attempting 
to keep the finances of each voyage distinct and by paying 
out the profits upon each voyage in dividends without 
accumulating any reserve fund. Although the company 
was a rudimentary joint stock concern, it was a very 
inefficient one and the contrast between it and a modem 
enterprise is very great. 

While the desire of the founders of the company to 
keep its shares entirely in the hands of Puritans was 
easily fulfilled, their scheme for attracting Puritan 


emigrants to the colony met with only a very slight 
measure of success, though they made every endeavour 
to carry it through. In order to avoid the ill-usage of 
which the passengers in the Seaflower had been the 
victims, it was decided to charter a ship which should 
be entirely officered by the company's men, and the 
Charity, a vessel of two hundred tons, was got ready to 
sail in the early part of 1632 under the mastership of 
Thomas Punt. The engagement of three ministers for 
the island has already been mentioned and all three 
sailed in this ship, the command of the passengers in 
which was entrusted to Henry Halhead and Samuel 
Bishworth, Puritans of the true New England type. 
Henry Halhead was a native of the town of Banbury 
and a dependent of Lord Saye; like his patron, he was 
always to the fore in defence of ancient rights, and in 
1632 he had made himself so obnoxious to the authorities 
that he was compelled to emigrate. In March, 1628, 
forty soldiers, billeted in Banbury, had engaged in riot- 
ing and had set fire to the houses of some of those 
opposed to them. The parish constable, in trying to 
prevent further outrage, had been maltreated by the 
soldiers and failed to obtain redress from the justices, 
who, from fear of the government, considered that they 
had no power to punish the soldiers without consent of 
their captains. The constable appealed to the House 
of Lords^^ then sitting and brought forward Halhead to 
prove the truth of his statements. The lords sent for 
the justices and admonished them, while the offending 
soldiers were punished with stripes. To the end of his 
life Halhead maintained the interest in opposing 
enclosures that he had imbibed under Lord Saye in 

11 "House of Lords MSS." (Hist. MSS. Comm., Fourth Seport, App'z, p. 
13), 26 March, 1628, Petition of George Philips, constable of Banburj; 
see also Lords' Journal, m, 700, 708. 


1617." In 1650, after his return from the West Indies, 
there appeared from his pen a small work against 
enclosures under the title of Inclosure Thrown Open, 
showing the practice to be wicked by quotations from 
Scripture and many other sources." 

One hundred and fifty passengers in all were gathered 
together for the voyage to Providence under Halhead's 
leadership and these were of a more strongly Puritan 
type than any other emigrants to Providence. Those 
coming from Essex were directed to come to a rendezvous 
in London and boarded the Charity there; those from 
Devon and Warwickshire, together with Lord Saya^s 
party from Oxfordshire, assembled at Plymouth and 
were lodged at the company's charge in the houses of 
Puritan sympathisers while waiting for the ship. The 
cost of transportation, £6 per head including victuals, 
was borne by the emigrants themselves in most cases, 
but when poverty prevented their paying before leaving 
England, the company arranged that the emigrants 
might repay the passage money out of their first year's 
profits in the island. No servants were sent out to the 
planters in this voyage, the emigrants being all freemen 
and many of them taking with them their wives and 
families. The majority were agriculturists, but a good 
many mechanics also went out, such as carpenters, 
sawyers, coopers, smiths, and brickmakers. 

Although great care had been taken in the preparation 
of the instructions for the voyage, they were almost 
entirely disregarded by the master, and the passengers 
suffered even more cruelly than had those in the Sea- 
it Privy Council Begister, James I, Vol. Ill, pp. 111-115. Quoted by 
Prof. E. G. K. Gonner in Eng, Hist, Bev,, 1908, p. 482. 

It Inclosure Throvm Open or Depopulation Depopulated Not hy Spades 
and Mattocks hut hy the Word of God, the Laws of the Land, and Solid 
Arguments, And the most material Pleas that can he hrought for it con- 
sidered and answered. By Henry Halhead. London, 1650. 


flower. The Charity had not long left Plymouth when 
a dangerous sickness broke out on board and the surgeon 
appealed to the master for the issue of stores for relief 
of the sick. Not only did Punt refuse this reasonable 
demand, but he stinted the passengers and seamen of 
the poor food allowed them ; one-third of their allowance 
of biscuit, one-half of their beer, and a proportion of 
their pease were abated, while only three stock-fish and 
a half were allowed each week between forty persons. 
That this niggardliness was solely due to Punt's desire 
for illicit gain was shown by the fact that he privately 
disposed of twenty-eight butts of beer on reaching 
Providence and of a large amount of biscuit on his return 
to England. The despotic power of a master on ship- 
board was even greater in the seventeenth century than 
it is to-day and Punt's reply to all complaints was an 
order for a flogging for the complainant. One seaman 
who grumbled was first flogged and then tied to the 
capstan for two hours with fifteen heavy cannon shot 
about his neck. Though Halhead was in command of 
the passengers. Punt threatened him with the '* bilboes '* 
or heavy leg-irons for mutiny, because he had directed 
one of his own body servants to go ashore without the 
master's express permission. The company did their 
best to bring Punt to book for his misdeeds on his return 
to England and he was examined before certain masters 
of Trinity House concerning the allegations against 
him. After the case had dragged on two or three 
months, it was found that no satisfaction was obtain- 
able through Trinity House and it was decided to pay 
Punt and his accomplice, the purser, the wages owing 
to them and to abandon any further proceedings. It 
can hardly be wondered at that the emigrants who had 
voyaged to the island under such painful conditions, 
sent back most doleful accounts to their friends in Eng- 


land, and the company found great difficulty in conse- 
quence of these reports in securing further emigrants. 
In the original proposals from Elf rith to Gov. Bell, that 
ultimately led to the formation of the Providence Com- 
pany, he pointed out as the most likely place for a colony 
an island, which he called Fonseca, and which, he said, 
lay ''some one hundred leagues to the eastwards of the 
Caribbees out of all the Spaniards' roads and ways/'" 
At the end of 1632 Pym's energy felt the need for some 
fresh outlet and his thoughts turned to Fonseca as the 
most suitable scene for further activity of the company, 
for it was said to be of considerable size and great fer- 
tility. The existence of such an island had been confi- 
dently believed in by the Spaniards throughout the 
sixteenth century and the growth of the myth is an 
interesting subject of enquiry." The name '*San 
Bemaldo" was in use by the Spaniards quite early in 
the century for one of the Caribbee Islands, which were 
then only very roughly and vaguely marked upon the 
maps. By 1544 the name had become definitely applied 
to a fair-sized island marked as lying well out of the 
chain of the Lesser Antilles and bearing about E. N. E. 
of Tobago. The Sebastian Cabot map of 1544 gives it 
in this position and this is repeated in several other 
maps of somewhat later date; in some of these it bears 
also the name of ''Fonsequa" or ''Fonseca," and is 
given a very noticeable cross-like outline, probably thus 
indicating that it had been scrupulously copied from 
earlier maps; in other and more accurate maps it is 
marked definitely as lying in the position which Elfrith 
described. In the ' ' Euttier for the West Indies, ' ' printed 

1* F. supra, p. 39. 

i^ For Bome of these references the writer is indebted to the courtesj of 
Mr. E. Heawood, librarian of the Bojal Geographical Society, and of Mr. 
W. B. Kettle, editor of Finlaj's Directory of the North Atlantic, 


by Hakluyt/* there is a list of all the more important 
West Indian islands and their latitudes, where we find: 
^^The island of Fonzeca standeth in Degrees of latitude 
11%/* One of the most reliable maps of the American 
coast and islands in the early seventeenth century is that 
of Sebastian de Buesta, cosmographer to the Contra- 
tacion House of Seville, and on this map Fonseca is 
marked as bearing due north of what is now French 
Ouiana/^ In letters from the Indies to Spain in 1630, 
the corsairs are said frequently to take refuge in the 
island of Fonseca, while on February 28, 1628, Charles I 
granted^* to Philip, Earl of Montgomery, ''the islands 
lying between 8 and 13 degrees of north latitude, called 
Trinidado, Tabago, Barbudos, and Fonseca.'* 

Both in Spain and England, then, the island was 
assumed to have a real existence and it was only towards 
the end of the seventeenth century that it disappeared 
from the maps. In the excellent atlas of N. Visscher 
(1650)^* there is no mention of the island, but it is 
occasionally met with as late as 1866, when Keith John- 
ston 's Royal Atlas definitely marks it and in the accom- 
panying Index Oeographicus its exact position is given 
as 12^ 27' N., 54** 48' W. Upon an admiralty chart of 
1848 no island appears in this position, but a rock termed 
''La Gallissonniere Bock'* is marked. The non-existence 
of both island and rock was finally ascertained by the 
officers of the United States government brig Dolphin, 
who in 1852 obtained a sounding of two thousand five 
hundred and seventy fathoms near the reputed position. 
The lengthy period through which the existence of an 

leHakluyt's Voyages (Everyman Library), VTE, 267. 

17 Brit. MuB., Add. MSS., 5027a. 

18 Sign Man., Car. I, Vol. V, no. 22, C, 8, P. Col., 1574-1660, p. 87. In 
Brit. Mna., Sloane, 3662, fo. 46, the version of this patent calls the island 
<'San Bemaldo." 

19 AtUu Contractus Orhia Terrarum. N. Vis^her, Amsterdam, 1650. 



island lying far out of the chain of the Antilles was 
assumed as certain, gives to Fonseca or San Bemaldo 
a rather more tangible position than such an entirely 
vague and mythical island as ^'St. Brendan's Isle/' 
though even this in 1628 was granted by patent as a field 
for colonisation. In the rudimentary state of the science 
of navigation in the sixteenth century, the accurate 
determination of longitude was impossible and mariners 
worked entirely by means of latitude and dead reckon- 
ing. It is quite possible that an early navigator, taking 
a course more southerly than usual, should have failed 
to allow for the westerly drift of the great equatorial 
current and should have made his first land fall two or 
three days before he expected it upon Tobago, or even 
Barbadoes. Hakluyt gives the latitude of Tobago as 
eleven degrees, which differs very little from the eleven 
and one-fourth degrees of Fonseca. The existence of 
the island having once been assumed, it was very difficult 
to prove it mythical and the mistake, like many another, 
was copied by writer after writer for two hundred years. 
At a meeting of the Providence Company on November 
26, 1632, in John Pym 's house,*® it was definitely decided 
to extend the area of the company's activities and it was 
resolved that £25 should be paid in on each entire share 
of adventure towards the expenses of a voyage of dis- 
covery to Fonseca. As the lord chamberlain, the Earl 
of Pembroke and Montgomery, possessed some preten- 
sions to the island, it was resolved to invite him to join 
as a private adventurer in the enterprise, but Pembroke, 
whose West Indian ventures had not been graced with 
much success and who had been involved in a long con- 
test with the Earl of Carlisle concerning the right to 

20 Pjm's house was at this period on the eastern side of Gray's Inn Lane, 
only a few doors away from Brooke House. Nugent 's Mems, of Hampden, 
1, 296. C. 8. P. Dom., 16 Jan. 1637-1638, Betum of Justices of the Peaee. 


BarbadoeSy declined to have anything to do with the 
enterprise and tacitly renounced his rights in favour of 
the company. A pinnace, the Elizabeth, was hired at 
the rate of £4 per month, and Matthew Harbottle, lately 
master of the Little Hopewell, was appointed to the 
command. The pinnace was to call at Association and 
take on board Capt. Hilton, who would direct the voyage. 
During the winter the subscriptions were all collected 
and Pym made enquiries of those experienced in West 
Indian navigation as to the proper course to pursue. 
These enquiries were evidently unsatisfactory and were 
sufficient to cast doubts not only upon the feasibility of 
the enterprise, but even upon the existence of such an 
island as Fonseca. Pym's native caution was far too 
strong to allow him to throw away his own and his 
partner *s money in the chase of a will-o *-the-wisp, and 
in March, 1633, he came to the conclusion that the 
Fonseca design should be abandoned in favour of a 
project more likely to offer success. 

Hilton had laid before the company in his letters two 
schemes for the outlay of capital in Indian trade. The 
first of these schemes involved the seizure of islands 
in the Florida Channel, either the cays where Key West 
now stands, or some of the western Bahamas; this was 
far too bold a plan for the company to sanction, for it 
really courted failure. The Spaniards' brutal massacre 
of Bibault and Laudonniere 's Florida colonists some 
seventy years before*^ was still vividly remembered, and 
that the governor of Havana would do what he could to 
maintain Spain 's exclusive policy in Florida waters had 
been clearly brought home to the Providence Company 
by the narrow escape of their vessel, the Seaflower, on 
her homeward voyage through the Straits. Hilton's 
second project was for a trade with the Indians in the 

21 By Menendez, 20 Sept., 1565. 



Gulf of Darien and this was far easier to carry out. 
Although within a few score of miles of a world's high- 
way so much travelled as is the Isthmus of Panama, the 
country round the Gulf of Darien is, even to the present 
day, little visited, and the wild and intractable San Bias 
Indians inhabiting its hills and swampy shores have 
never bowed beneath the Spanish yoke. From Porto 
Bello to the head of the gulf, the coast is lined with small 
islands, the creeks between which had from the middle 
of the sixteenth century formed a favourite refuge for 
English corsairs, where they might mature in safety 
their plans against the Spanish treasure convoys.'' The 
hostility of the Darien Indians against the Spaniards 
was intensified by their alliance with the Cimarones or 
negroes, who, having fled from the plantations round 
Panama, had taken refuge in the Darien swamps and 
hills ; their friendliness towards the EngUsh was, how- 
ever, very marked and was an important factor in the 
history of the Isthmus for two hundred years.'* 

In March, 1633, the Providence Company definitely 
decided to divert the subscriptions that had been received 
for the Fonseca design, to the fitting out of a trading 
voyage to Darien. A pinnace, the Elizabeth, was pur- 
chased and placed under the command of Matthew 
Harbottle, who, as mate of the Charity, had pro- 
tested against Punt's malpractices, and had given 
evidence against him. A Dartmouth pinnace, the Pole, 
was chartered under the command of her owner, Nicholas 
Roope, and was fitted out to accompany the Elizabeth. 

S2 Drake, while preparing for his attack on Nombre de Dios in 1572, spent 
some time among the Darien Indians and the Cimarones. John Ozenham 
also visited them in 1575. Hakluyt, VII, 63, 64. 

ssDampier and his companions spent many months in Darien in 1679, 
and there is a contemporary map of the locality in his Voyages, In 1739 
(Governor Trelawny of Jamaica organized a revolt in Darien to facilitate 
Admiral Vernon's attack on Porto Bello and Panama. 


Forty-two passengers went out with these vessels to 
Association and Providence, half of them being servants 
under bond, who had been recruited for the company 
by paid agents and were of an entirely different char- 
acter to the earlier Puritan emigrants. From Associa- 
tion the vessels were directed to sail to St. Christopher 
or Barbadoes to obtain cotton-seed, and thence to Provi- 
dence. If Hilton desired to do so, he was to take com- 
mand of the expedition, but if not Richard Lane, a 
protege of Lord Brooke's, was to direct the course of 
the traders after leaving Providence. Hilton did not 
care to leave the scene of his profitable duplicity and 
Lane therefore acted as cape-merchant or supercargo 
and had charge of the ^'cargazoon.'' As an evidence of 
the care bestowed by Pym upon the instructions issued 
to the company's commanders, it is worth while to 
examine those issued to Lane in detail. 

Lane was directed on his arrival in Providence to plant 
carefully the madder he took out and to leave explicit 
directions with responsible persons for its cultivation. 
He was then to take on board Roger Floyd and six or 
eight other persons and to sail to the Bay of Darien, 
'* which lies South-east and by South from Cape Cattina 
not far from Porto Bello upon the continent of the West 
Indies. ' ' On arrival there he was to take what steps he 
thought fit for finding a suitable landing place and to 
take care to conceal his movements from the Spaniards. 
**If you shall see cause to fear discovery by the Span- 
iards or danger by foul weather, you may give the 
Master direction to put into the harbour lying there- 
about (as we are informed between the main and an 
island called Isla de Pinas)" where she may ride out of 
sight of such ships as may pass by and out of danger of 

2« A favourite place of concealment of the rovers among the laUui de San 
Bias. See Dampier's Voyages, 



wind." He was to use all possible means to ingratiate 
himself with the Indians, ^Haking care that [he] be not 
too liberal nor that they may have cause to suspect [his] 
own disesteem of the commodities." He was to use all 
possible means to conceal from them the object of his 
coming, but was to express a desire of renewing friend- 
ship with them as ^ ^ favourers of the English nation and 
especially of Don Francisco Draco (whose name they 
seem to honour)." He was to make advantage of them 
by trade for gold, etc., to discover what things might be 
obtained from them and their value, and to labour to 
possess them with the natural goodness of the English 
nation. He was to restrain any boisterous carriage to 
the women and particularly '* mocking, pointing or 
laughing at their nakedness." None of the seamen were 
to be permitted to trade with the Indians or to have 
much familiarity with them. He was to keep a careful 
account of all the trade he did, and when he had obtained 
a cargo he was to return with it to Providence. 

The Elizabeth left England in April, 1633, and 
attempted to carry out the programme arranged for her, 
but the Darien trade proved impossible for the time 
being, owing to circumstances which could not have been 
foreseen. When the Elizabeth arrived in the Gulf of 
Darien, she found there three Dutch ships that were 
attempting to trade. Though English and Dutch were 
still closely allied through their common hostility to 
Spain's exclusive pretensions, there were many signs 
that commercial rivalries were beginning to drive them 
asunder. In the East, the Amboyna massacre had un- 
mistakably shown the English what consideration they 
might expect when Dutchmen felt that they really had 
the upper hand, but in western waters conditions 
remained more friendly and the main complaint of 
Englishmen as yet was that the Dutch were so brutal in 


their dealings with the natives as to render it difficult to 
carry on trade. A flagrant instance of this brutality 
now dashed all hopes of the Darien trade to both nations 
for some years. Some small parties from the Dutch 
ships had already got into communication with the 
Indians before the Elizabeth arrived on the coast, and 
they had seen sufficient gold round the natives' necks 
to excite all their cupidity. The Indians had informed 
them that they had plenty of gold in the hills and prom- 
ised in six days' time to bring down some of the hill 
people to trade with them. Accordingly at the end of 
that time some two or three hundred Indians from the 
interior came down to the shore, and a young man, who 
knew something of their language, was sent among them 
to try their disposition to trade. His report was evi- 
dently favourable, for the Dutch vice-admiral, seeing 
great hopes of gain, determined to land and go among 
them. In order, however, to guard against surprise, he 
ordered his men to carry their arms with them; this 
was a fatal step, for the Indians, when they saw armed 
men beginning to land, took to flight. The Dutch were 
resolved that their hopes of gain should not so easily 
be dashed, and pursued the natives into the woods, 
behaving with great brutality and seizing the gold 
ornaments round the necks of the women and whatever 
else of value they could lay their hands on. The fight 
soon became general and in the melee the Dutch vice- 
admiral was slain by an Indian dart. This loss cast his 
men into the greatest confusion and it was only with 
difficulty and after the loss of several of their men that 
they succeeded in regaining their boats and taking refuge 
on shipboard. It was patent to everyone that all hopes 
of peaceful trade must be abandoned for the time being 
and after a short delay and a few unsuccessful attempts 


to trade on other parts of the coast, the Elizabeth 
returned with her cargo to Providence. 

Other trading ventures had been directed from Provi- 
dence in 1631 and 1632 and in these Daniel Elfrith had 
played the leading part. It will be remembered that at 
the first election of officers Elfrith had chosen the post 
of admiral in preference to that of governor, and in pur- 
suance of the company *s directions he set forth early 
in 1631 on a voyage to other West Indian islands and to 
the adjacent mainland of Central America in search of 
commodities suitable for raising in Providence. The first 
voyage and others, performed by Elfrith during 1631 
and 1632, met with very little success and Elfrith had to 
be severely reproved by the company for his aggressive 
acts at the expense of the Spaniards, but the accounts he 
sent home gave the company such a very favourable idea 
of the mainland opposite to Providence that after mature 
consideration it was resolved to concentrate the com- 
pany's greatest efforts at Indian trade rather upon Cape 
Oracias a Dios than in the territory round the Gulf of 
Darien. The idea grew further as time went on and 
developed into a project for settling a great colony of 
Englishmen in Central America, but in the first instance, 
when the preUminary steps were taken in 1633, it was 
trade that was aimed at. 

The first mention of their design to Gov. Bell was made 
by the company in the letters sent by the Elizabeth 
(April, 1633). He was informed that the company 
intended to lay the foundation of a trade upon Cape 
Gracias a Dios and to employ there persons acquainted 
with the character and language of the Indians. In order 
to avoid any difficulty. Bell was ordered that the Main 
was not to be visited until full directions as to the carry- 
ing on of the trade were received. If any Indian came 
to Providence from the Main no pistols, knives, hooks, 

. -1 

. f 



or iron of any kind were to be trucked with them. The 
company had heard that many in the island began to 
look towards the Main for profit. As this would conflict 
with their design to foimd a prosperous colony in Provi- 
dence. Bell was to check all such tendencies and was to 
exhort the planters to look for profit to their plantations 
in the island and not elsewhere. Immediately after the 
business connected with the sailing of the Elizabeth had 
been completed, Pym took up the new project in earnest. 
It was decided that each adventurer should contribute 
£60 towards the voyage and that a magazine of trade 
goods should be provided for £600. A pinnace of ninety 
tonsy the Golden Falcon, was purchased at a cost of £405 
from Lord Paulet and sent round from Southampton to 
the Thames to be refitted for the voyage under the direc- 
tions of the Earl of Warwick. The command of the expe- 
dition was entrusted to Capt. Sussex Camock, who, it will 
be remembered, was Elfrith's fellow-commander in the 
1627-1628 voyage and who had been left planting tobacco 
upon Henrietta. Sussex Camock was the brother of 
Capt. Thomas Camock, who had married Frances, 
daughter of the second Lord Rich and aunt of Robert, 
Earl of Warwick. Thomas Camock had for some years 
been interested in New England and had been living 
on the eastern bank of Black Point River. On November 
4, 1631, he obtained through the Earl of Warwick a 
patent^* for one thousand five hundred acres and pro- 
posed to settle there with his wife and family; a settle- 
ment was founded on the grant and received the name 
of Black Point. Sussex Camock had had a good deal of 
experience as a commander of privateers and his name 
appears frequently in the registers of letters of marque 
as the master of ships belonging to the Earl of Warwick. 

25* 'Records of the Council for New England/' 4 Nov., 1631, Troc. of 
Amer. Antiq. Soc. for 1867; Doyle's FuHtan Colonies^ I, 324. 



He had accompanied his patron on his disastrous 
expedition against the Plate Fleet in 1627. 

Active preparations for the voyage went on through 
May and June, 1633, the arms and provisions being got 
ready and shipped on board the Golden Falcon at Dart- 
mouth. The vessel was placed under the command of 
Joseph Collins as master, with Sussex Camock as captain 
and in command of the passengers. These were of a 
much better class than those sent out in the Elizabeth 
and the Pole and many of them were strong Puritans. 
They were followers of a nonconformist minister, the 
Eev. Henry Boot," and were the last distinctively Puri- 
tan emigrants to reach Providence from England. The 
Golden Falcon had orders to call first at the Dutch island 
of St. Martin 's, where she was to take on board a supply 
of salt for Providence ; if salt could not be obtained there 
at a reasonable price, the master was to purchase it at 
Cape San Nicolas or one of the other salt pans, which the 
Dutch were working upon the northern shore of His- 
paniola. Having called at Association to take on board 
three pieces of the company's ordnance that had been 
left there, the master was to steer for Providence and 
to deliver to Gov. Bell the company's letters, to land his 
passengers, and then to proceed under the entire com- 
mand of Capt. Camock to the cape, where the Golden 
Falcon was to be placed and remain at his disposal. 

It is impossible to enter into the many details of the 
instructions given by Treasurer Pym to Camock for the 
management of the new trade, as they fill six closely 
written folio pages of the company's letter book, and 
though they abound in interesting details concerning 
the commodities to be searched for and the procedure to 

26Galamj, Nonconformist's Memorial, II, 450, gives some account of 
Boot and says that in early life he was a considerable traveller. From 
1645 to 1662 he ministered at Sowerbj and died there. 


be adopted, we must confine our attention to the general 
directions given. Capt. Camock was directed to *'sef 
with his company upon Cape Oracias a Dios, there to 
discover and maintain a trade with the natives ; he was 
to search out a fit place in which to estabUsh a perma- 
nent colony for trade and plantation. **And,'* say the 
company, ** because the hope of the business most spe- 
cially depends upon God's blessing, therefore we pray 
and require you to make it your first and principal care 
to carry God along with you in all places by the diligent 
performance of holy duties in your own person and by 
setting up and preserving the true worship of God in 
the hearts and lives of all your company, so far as you 
shall be able. Also to restrain and prevent to your 
utmost power all sins and disorders, as swearing, drunk- 
enness, uncleanness or the like, which will render the 
name of Christians odious to the very heathen and be 
infinitely prejudicial to the business you take in hand 
by drawing the curse of God upon your endeavours. . . . 
You are to endear yourselves with the Indians and their 
commanders and we conjure you to be friendly and cause 
no jealousy." Among the many exhortations as to the 
proper treatment of native races that have been sent 
forth from England to the pioneers of her empire, it 
would be diflScult to find a loftier yet simpler exordium 
than these words of Pym, and never, perhaps, has so 
lasting a friendship existed between Englishmen and a 
native race as that which, since these words were penned, 
has subsisted between Englishmen and the Indian tribes 
of the Moskito Coast. 

The eastern coast of Central America lying opposite 
the Island of Providence has, even to this day, been very 
little explored and never properly mapped. It is in- 
habited by various Indian tribes grouped under the 



generic name of MoskitoSy*^ but all closely allied to the 
Caribs of the Lesser Antilles. The first Europeans to 
come into contact with them were Alonzo de Ojeda and 
Diego de Nuesca, the conquerors of Nicaragua, whose 
arms were repulsed by the Moskitos and who never suc- 
ceeded in establishing a footing in their territory. A 
deadly hatred had always subsisted between the Moskitos 
and the Spaniards and, even as early as Drake 's voyages, 
we find them, as well as the Darien Indians, fraternising 
with and assisting the Spaniards' most implacable 
enemies, the English corsairs. To the relations estab- 
lished with the Moskitos by Bell and Camock we may 
attribute the close friendship that bound them to Eng- 
land throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centu- 
ries, a friendship that at times during the eighteenth 
century had an important influence upon West Indian 
affairs. The protectorate exercised by England over the 
Moskito Territory, or Moskito Coast Reserve, was only 
finally relinquished as late as 1900.'" 

The Indians were accustomed to come over to Provi- 
dence at certain periods of the year for fishing and Gov. 
Bell was directed not to interfere with this practice. 
A small number of them might be persuaded to stay in 
the island, ''but," wrote Pym, ''they must be free men 
drawn to work by reward and they must be entertained 
by kind usage and be at liberty to return at pleasure." 
Missionary efforts were to be made among them and no 
idolatrous worship was to be permitted in the island 
"that so there shall be no mixture of Paganism with 

ST This name has nothing to do with the name of the familiar Anopheles 
or Mosquito. It is probably a corruption of a native word and should be 
written more accurately Miskito. Beport of Prussian Comm., on Moskito 
Territory, 1845. 

28 The well-known Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850, abrogated by the 
Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of 1900, governed English relations with this part 
of Central America throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century. 




s Caxoncs 

■;o":Joho ThomoV^Cay 

;Alar^tc Alta 

RW^sCb Ca)>e Gffocias a Oo^ 

iPlGoriU ^ 




\U/7^ Oev.n»Cay 

Jl /"^Pt bracina 


V 6ucr>o 

/A'jOW Provide rK« 
',-.'' Of f^ania Catatina 

•• O 

lurn«ffe Coys 


•'•*• Rati CqyA 


or,3an An4r«a* 

^ LiUUCom I. 

Great Com I. 

Princi|>al MoutK 



the pure religion of Almighty God/' Both Camock and 
Bell received the most explicit directions that the Mos- 
kitos were never to be furnished with the means of 
practising the nse of gunpowder. 



The fullness of the directions despatched by the com- 
pany to the colony in reference to the raising of commodi- 
ties and their preparation for the market is a noticeable 
feature of the records we are dealing with. Page after 
page of the company's letter book is devoted to com- 
ments on the method of cultivation to be adopted, the 
commodities to be sought for and the sources whence 
they might be obtained, and not merely did the company 
(or rather Pym) thus give counsel to the settlers, but 
the greatest trouble was also taken to secure for them 
plants and seeds, tools and appliances from all quarters, 
these being forwarded with the fullest directions for 
their use. We repeatedly find in the letters directions for 
the planters to conmaunicate with Pym in cases of doubt 
concerning the growth or preparation of a commodity, 
and it seems no unwarrantable assumption to credit 
him with the authorship of the general directions sent 
to the company's servants. The details as to the various 
commodities tried and the success achieved form too 
large a subject to be entered upon here, though they 
provide a valuable source of information and material 
to be considered in connection with a study of the gen- 
eral early economic history of the European colonies in 
the West Indies.^ We must be content to summarise the 

1 The information available is similar to that used bj Bruce in his 
Economic History of Virginia in the 17th Century, 2 vols. New York, 
1896. Interesting comparisons might be drawn from Weeden's Economic 
and Social History of New England, 2 vols. Boston, 1890. 


main results obtained during the first five years of the 
colony's life, though in the end these results proved very 

As we have seen tobacco was the first crop attempted 
by the planters from Bermuda and proved of very fair 
quality. That raised between January and August was 
as good as any made in the Indies if, after the Spanish 
method, it were kept to mature for a year before expor- 
tation. But insufficient care was devoted to the sorting 
and packing and in consequence only a very poor price 
could be obtained in England. The company had a strong 
objection to tobacco-growing as the staple industry of 
the colony, based partly upon economic grounds and 
partly upon reUgious scruples, and their language is 
reminiscent of that used by the Massachusetts Bay 
Company in their first general letter to Gov. Endecott :* 
**[The tobacco] trade is by the Company generally dis- 
avowed and utterly disclaimed by some of the greatest 
adventurers amongst us, who absolutely declared them- 
selves unwilling to have any hand in this plantation, if 
we intend to cherish or permit the planting of the noxious 
weed.'* Circumstances in Providence, however, proved 
too strong for the company and tobacco was always the 
principal export from the island. Two sorts of cotton 
were found growing wild in the island, one of short and 
the other of long staple, and both were cultivated, as well 
as varieties obtained from Jamaica and Barbadoes. 
Here again, however, the disinclination of the planters 
to take trouble in preparing and packing the product 
prevented a fair price being obtained for it in England. 
The company were continually urging the colonists to 
search for a staple commodity suitable for growth in the 
island, and offered large rewards for its discovery, but 
without success. It was thought that a profitable staple 

2 ArchcBologia Americana, JU, 82, 17 April, 1629. 


commodity had been discovered in silk-grass, or as the 
company called it, **Camock's flax,'* which grew wild in 
the forests of the Main. This seems to have been the 
fibre which is now known as henequen or sisal hemp,' 
derived from the fleshy leaves of a species of agave 
growing largely in Central America. The first samples 
were sent home from the cape by Camock in 1634 and 
were submitted by Pym to several experienced trades- 
men; after a careful examination it was declared by 
them to be fit for several manufactures and worth about 
four shillings a pound. Bell was informed that *' experi- 
ment upon a small quantity of the silk-grass sent from 
the Main shows it to be a very excellent staple com- 
modity, vendible in greater abundance than you shall be 
able to send it us and at a price to exceed our hopes. 
May God's blessing rest upon it as a merchandize abun- 
dantly sufficient to give both us and you contentment.'* 
The great difficulty concerning the fibre was the extrac- 
tion of it from the rind of the leaf; experiments were 
carried out both in England and in Providence under 
Pym's direction and some success was obtained. After 
a few years' trial of the fibre in the European markets, 
the company resolved to undertake the production of it 
on a large scale and to obtain a patent for its manufac- 
ture. To this subject we will return in a later chapter. 
Madder and indigo planting were both tried in a half- 
hearted sort of way, but the inability of the planters to 
work their land satisfactorily with the aid only of 
Englishmen in so warm a climate threw them back upon 
tobacco and cotton as their staple crops, since these 
required less labour than other commodities. The most 
valuable exports from the island were mainly dye-woods 
obtained in small quantities in the forests of Providence 
and in larger quantities by traffic with the Moskito 

8 Ohisholm, Handbook of Commercial Geography, p. 145. 


Indians. Negroes were first introduced into Providence 
from Association in 1633 and thenceforward the number 
of them in the island was a continually increasing one,) 
and they began before long to be a real danger to thei 
safety of the community. While the owning of negroes 
as slaves occasioned not the slightest misgiving to the 
strict Puritans in the company, the minds of some of 
the Puritan party in the island were by no means at rest 
and one of them at least, Samuel Rishworth, held such 
strong views against slavery that he began to play the 
part of ' ' abolitionist ' ' and to aid the negroes in escaping 
to liberty. His views seem to have been similar to those 
of Roger Williams of Rhode Island and, needless to say, 
were not tolerated either by the company or by the 
planters. ' ' We fear that the running away of the negroes 
may be of very ill consequence and do utterly mislike 
Mr. Rishworth's behaviour in promising to treat about 
their liberty if it were such as you conceive and the same 
is represented to us in your letter, it being both indiscreet 
(arising as it seems from a groundless opinion that 
Christians may not lawfully keep such persons in a state 
of servitude during their strangeness from Christianity) 
and also injurious to ourselves, whose service he hath 
made them disaffected to, and to their particular mas- 
ters, who should have been advised withal before any 
overture touching their liberty. *' Rishworth is to be 
admonished that he is to mend his behaviour and to learn 
that '^ Religion consists not so much in an outward con- 
formity of actions as in truth of the inward parts, *' — 
surely an odd argument in favour of slave-holding. It 
was only on rare occasions that the negroes could suc- 
ceed in escaping from the island, but a good number of 
them managed to flee into the woods and there they 
preserved a precarious existence. The planters * life was 
occasionally enlivened by a hunt after these poor savages 


and, though very few were recaptured, their huts were 
discovered and burnt amid great rejoicing. Their head- 
quarters seems to have been in a lofty valley, known as 
the ^'Palmetto Grove," in the southeast of the island, 
and on two or three occasions they were driven thence 
and forced to disperse into the adjacent forests. 

The thorough exploration that the island had received 
showed that it contained some three or four thousand 
acres of very fertile land and about four thousand more 
acres of land suitable for planting but not as fertile; 
the rest of the island consisted of rocky hills and shore 
unfit for cultivation. The forests clothing the lower 
slopes of the hills contained cedars and other varieties 
of hard wood, but the supply in 1634 was beginning to 
run short and the colonists obtained better wood from 
Henrietta Island, where some shallops were built with 
the aid of Dutch shipwrights. In very dry seasons the 
brooks in the island ran dry and care had to be taken 
to husband the water from the springs. Potatoes flour- 
ished well and were a principal article of the planters' 
diet; cassava, plantains, pines, oranges, bananas, and 
melons flourished exceedingly, but figs and vines proved 
indifferent. Fishing was profitable and turtles were 
obtained in abundance on the neighbouring cays. The 
planters found that since their plantations were not 
enclosed, they had a good deal of diflSculty in rearing 
the cattle sent from England and from Tortuga, and in 
1634 they had only twelve beasts. Sheep they could not 
rear at all, but hogs were many, and of poultry they had 
great store. At the beginning of 1635 there were five 
hundred white men in the island, including a few Dutch- 
men, and some forty white women with a few children. 
The negroes then numbered ninety. The dwellings of the 
planters were dispersed upon their plantations about 
the island and were substantially built of timber; at 


New Westminster near the harbour there was a village 
of some thirty well-constructed houses surrounding a 
commodious brick-built church and a governor's house, 
also of brick. 

The ever-present fear of the settlers was of attack 
from the Spaniards and great precautions had to be 
taken to perfect the fortifications required to repel such 
attack. The island possessed forty pieces of ordnance 
mounted in thirteen or fourteen fortified places, and no 
ship or boat could approach the island but within the 
command of two or three forts. For the garrison of 
each of these forts the neighbouring planters were 
assigned with their servants and they were expected to 
muster at least once a week for drill under the command 
of their captain and his Ueutenants, whose plantations 
lay close to the fort. A gunner, paid by the company 
£20 or £40 a year besides his land, was in charge of the 
ordnance at each fort and was accustomed to give the 
planters regular instruction in musketry. The colo- 
nists had some dozen or so shallops which they used 
ostensibly for fishing, but also unfortunately for less 
legitimate purposes. 

It has been shown above that the pinnace Elizabeth, 
which had originally been intended for the discovery of 
Fonseca, was in April, 1633, sent to Tortuga with direc- 
tions to Gov. Hilton to attempt a trade with the Indians 
at Darien. Such orders, however, did not suit Hilton's 
purpose and he preferred to remain in Tortuga and 
drive a profitable trade in the company's wood with 
French and Dutch ships. He proved utterly unscrupu- 
lous in his dealings with the company and they found 
it quite impossible to secure any payment for the maga- 
zines they had despatched to him, even though they 
attempted by legal process in Holland to arrest ships 
coming from Tortuga with their wood. Two or three 



cargoes he certainly did send to the company's agents 
at Middleburg and these were disposed of to the cele- 
brated London merchant, Abraham Chamberlayne,^ who 
sold the wood to dyers in Bouen. It was bonght by 
sample and guaranteed by Hilton to be of uniform 
quality, but proved in reality to be nothing of the kind, 
and the company was involved in a long and unpleasant 
dispute with Chamberlayne, who practically accused 
them of bad faith, and the dispute had to be finally com- 
promised at a considerable reduction on the contract 
price of £23 per ton. Hilton's behaviour to the r»^ionists 
sent out by the company was very unsatisfactoi^^ and 
we find, from a letter sent by Samuel Filby from Asso- 
ciation to Sir Thomas Barrington," that he was seizing 
all the tobacco raised in the island and convertir it to 
his own profit. Tortuga was very unhealthy and almost 
all the English emigrants had perished from fever by 
the middle of 1634. But not merely was Hilton in hot 
water with the company, he had left a large number of 
debts unpaid in Nevis and St. Christopher, and his 
creditors were talking of arresting the company's ships 
there in order to secure payment. Thomas Littleton, the 
financier of Hilton's first voyage, even went so far as 
to cause the arrest of Capt. Richard Bragg, one of the 
Tortuga adventurers, who was in Nevis in order to obtain 
recruits and trade goods for the company's Darien trade. 
Littleton also threatened to bring a suit against the com- 
pany to recover Hilton's debts in the English courts, 
but they refused point-blank to have anything to do with 
the matter and, in the face of this direct refusal, Littleton 
took no further steps. The company's patience with 
Hilton was at length exhausted and in 1634 directions 

« Brown, Genesis, U, 852, gives his biography; see also Visit, of London, 
1, 148. 

« Brit. MuB., Eg., 2646, f o. 67. 


were sent out for his supersession ; if it were found that 
the conditions in Tortuga were too bad to afford any 
likelihood of improvement, the remaining inhabitants 
were to be transported to Providence and the company's 
ordnance removed. Before these instructions had been 
long despatched, the company received word of Hilton's 
death in the island and of the accession of Christopher 
Wormeley to the governorship; more of Hilton's mis- 
doings now came to light and it was found that he had 
been making Tortuga into a regular rendezvous for 
rovera of all nationalities. 

A c u'tain ship, the Hunter, had been purchased in 
Eotterdam and victualed and armed at Dover by a 
Capt. Powell and Thomas Newman, financed by the 
brotfc Y of the latter, a London merchant, one Lionel 
Newman. Some part of the ordnance was supplied by 
John Hart, the Providence Company's husband, without 
authorisation. The vessel sailed from Dover late in 
1632 or early in 1633 with a few passengers for Tortuga, 
ostensibly on a peaceable voyage to cut wood there ; just 
before sailing, however, the leaders announced that they 
held letters of marque from the Prince of Orange against 
the Spaniards, but they did not show them to anyone. 
Near the Canary Islands they attacked and captured 
two Spanish vessels, and on reaching Tortuga they fitted 
out one of these as a man-of-war and set sail on a roving 
cruise in the Mona and Windward passages to Ue in 
wait for Spanish ships. They returned now and again 
to Tortuga for fresh water, etc., and really made it a 
headquarters for their piratical enterprise. Gov. Hilton 
gave them every encouragement, as he did to other rovers, 
French and Dutch, that came in. On the Hunter's return 
to Europe in December, 1634, the booty was unloaded 
at Eotterdam, and the Spanish government, hearing of 
the matter, at once protested to the English authorities 



against their countenancing such piracy under cloak of 
the Providence Company. The parties were cited to 
appear before the Admiralty Court and there examined, 
so that the whole matter became public* 

Although rovers were not received at Providence in 
quite so open a fashion as at Tortuga and though Gk)v. 
Bell in one or two instances refused harbourage to Dutch 
ships whose credentials were not quite satisfactory, yet 
the fact that Dutch men-of-war (or, as we should now 
call them, privateers) frequently touched at the island 
and sometimes sold the colonists captured Spanish 
ordnance, was sufficient to implicate the island as a 
harbourage for pirates. The proceedings of some of 
the colonists themselves were by no means above 
reproach; Elfrith had been despatched on a voyage to 
various parts of the West Indies in 1631 and 1632 to 
secure plants and trees suitable to raise in the island, 
and although he knew that peace had been proclaimed 
between England and Spain in November, 1630, and 
though his commission and instructions explicitly for- 
bade him to execute any hostile acts except in self- 
defence, he did not scruple to attack and plunder any 
small Spanish vessels he came across. His own vessel 
being unseaworthy, in 1632 he seized a Spanish frigate^ 
lying in one of the Jamaican harbours, leaving his pin- 
nace in exchange. The company got wind of this and 
severely rated him for running such risks and for endan- 
gering the safety of the colony by his proceedings. The 
reproof had little effect, but he took good care not to let 
the company know of his further enterprises. 

The news of Elfrith 's piratical proceedings and the 
reports brought home by the masters of the company's 

• The principal depositions are to be found in S. P. Dom., Car. I, Vol. 
282, Nos. 89 and 90. Others are among the Admiralty Court Records. 
7 Frigates were small decked vessels of about thirty tons burthen. 


ships of the difficulty they had had in procuring a return 
cargo from Providence owing to the sale by the colonists 
of all their produce to the Dutch, caused the company 
much uneasiness. They had, of course, known that in 
settling an island in the very heart of the Indies, they 
were laying themselves open to Spanish attack, but they 
desired to avoid as much as possible any proceedings that 
would put them in the wrong with the English govern- 
ment and deprive them of the right of asking for national 
support in any dispute that might arise with Spain. 
Pym's directions to Bell, however, were very disin- 
genuous and savoured of a desire to do as much harm 
as possible to Spain without running any risks. If any 
ordnance taken by the Dutch were offered for sale to 
him, he was to purchase it in exchange for commodities 
or victuals, but he was to destroy as far as possible any 
evidence of its origin. Too great a resort of ships to 
the island was to be deprecated, as it might endanger its 
safety, but if a ship came in for relief, he might grant 
it at a reasonable charge. The restrictions on free trade 
with strange ships in general were retained, ''lest your 
measures should be discovered and a greater envy of 
the Spaniards drawn upon you for being a receptacle and 
relief to their enemies.'* We must remember as some 
palliation of this double dealing that, at the period of 
which we write, the savage war between the United 
Provinces and Spain was still being waged, a war 
wherein at sea quarter was hardly ever granted by either 
side to its adversaries, wherein every Hollander was 
regarded as a rebel and traitor against his lawful sov- 
ereign and every Spaniard as a sharer in the guilt of 
Alva and of Philip. It was perhaps a maxim of English 
policy that there was '*No peace beyond the line," but 
Englishmen and Spaniards did regard one another as 
honourable enemies and conducted their mutual dealings 



with reasonable courtesy and a desire to avoid unneces- 
sary cruelty ; no measure, however, could be too atrocious 
for a Spaniard or a Hollander to employ against his 
hated foe and not for many years were the bitter memo- 
ries of Haarlem and Alkmaar assuaged. Hence the 
company's desire that Bell should not identify himself 
too closely with Dutch interests was merely an evidence 
of statesmanlike caution and prudence. 

The company's uneasiness concerning the safety of 
the island, in view of the constant rumours of Spanish 
preparations, was increased by the reports they received 
of dissensions in the island. Elfrith and Axe had dis- 
agreed in 1631 about the division of the company's share 
of the first planters' tobacco, and, instead of showing 
signs of healing, the estrangement had become wider as 
time went on. Elfrith was constantly interfering with 
Axe 's exercise of military authority and, in virtue of his 
position as admiral of the island, had succeeded in mak- 
ing himself a nuisance to everybody. Axe had become 
so disgusted at the state of affairs that he took advantage 
of Camock's expedition to the Main to leave Providence 
for the time being and settle himself on the largest of 
the Moskito Cays, lying midway between Providence and 
the cape, in charge of Camock's depot of stores and pro- 
visions. This was a considerable loss to the colony, for 
Axe was one of its most capable officers. Constant little 
disagreements were arising in the council on questions 
of precedence and the use of heated language; even a 
slight knowledge of New England history would convince 
us that a seventeenth century Puritan was a very touchy 
person and the numerous discomforts of the West Indian 
climate did nothing to lessen this touchiness in Provi- 
dence. To a modem mind, the amount of trouble the 
company gave themselves in clearing up some of these 
silly disputes seems an egregious waste of energy. 


Thomas Hunt, the secretary of the island, was accused 
to the company at home of what were called ** grave 
falsifications" of the records, but when we examine the 
charges they turn out to involve merely a small amount 
of carelessness and inaccuracy. He had omitted to 
cancel an article in the records concerning a charge of 
Halhead against the Eev. Mr. Ecus of enticing away one 
of his servants; he had sent the accusation to England 
and had omitted the servant's name, he had entered 
depositions on the matter in the records after it had been 
remitted to the company, and so on. And yet to this 
puerile charge the company devoted two whole meetings 
and in the end administered to Hunt a reproof of por- 
tentous weight, filling two closely written folio pages of 
the letter book. Lieut. William Ecus, in the violence of 
an argument, had lost his temper and had smacked the 
face of Forman, the principal smith in the island; he 
was in consequence suspended from his place at the 
council table until he should acknowledge his fault. Gov. 
Bell, however, who found Ecus too useful a member of 
the council to be dispensed with, absolved him from his 
fault and restored him to his seat without the public 
apology, but the company, on learning of the matter, 
regarded this as far too lenient a way of dealing with 
so heinous a fault. It was ordered that Ecus be sus- 
pended until he made a public acknowledgment accord- 
ing to the censure, and that the governor be sharply 
reproved for having * * acted in an undue manner. ' ' The 
quaint proviso was added that Eous's suspension was 
not to involve a suspension from training his men — ^the 
company's interests must not be neglected. 

But it was not always with such insignificant charges 
that the company had to deal; the hot West Indian sun 
sometimes provoked crimes of hideous cruelty and vio- 
lence at the expense of a master's unfortunate servants. 



Capt. William Budyerd returned to England in the 
Golden Falcon in May, 1634, and many in the island 
breathed more freely at his departure, for Eudyerd, 
during his three years' stay in Providence, had been 
noted for his cruelty to his servants. One, Fload, had 
suffered so much that he ran away from the plantation 
and took refuge in the hills, but was recaptured and 
brought back. Though he was suffering from scurvy, 
Eudyerd beat him and continued to treat him cruelly. 
A second time Fload ran away and complained to the 
governor without securing redress; Eudyerd again 
recaptured him, had him tied to a tree and ordered three 
other servants to beat him with rods and then rub salt 
into his wounds. Poor Fload lingered in agony for six 
weeks and then died of the injuries he had received. 
Eudyerd 's influence with the company was sufficient to 
save him from punishment for his misdeeds, but it was 
evident to all that he was a very unsuitable officer to 
wield command. 

The amount of real crime in the island never appears 
to have been large and the majority of the offences dealt 
with by the council were small offences against morality 
or public decency. So great a part of the council's time, 
however, was taken up in dealing with judicial business 
that in 1633 the company directed that justices of the 
peace should be appointed to deal with petty matters 
of police ; only grave crimes were to be tried before the 
governor in council. As time went on a small class 
of independent shopkeepers grew up in the island, who 
bought the stores and provisions brought by the com- 
pany's or by strangers' ships, and disposed of them to 
the colonists at a profit. It was against this evil of 
engrossing rather than against the quality of goods from 
the company's stores that the planters complained to 
the company after the first two years of the colony's 


existence. Pym's constant care and supervision seem 
to have ensured that the goods sent out in the company's 
magazine were reasonable in price and of good quaUty. 
In order to guard against the evils of which the planters 
complained, careful regulations were drawn up to ensure 
that these goods should be sold on their arrival in a free 
and open market, but engrossing still occurred until 
the constant resort of ships to the inland and the 
removal of restrictions on trade with strangers prac- 
tically brought effective competition into play and the 
evils were automatically removed. 

The company had to fight hard against a system that 
was always tending to increase, whereby a planter, hav- 
ing started a plantation in the island, placed in charge 
of it an overseer who was to work it with negroes or 
white servants and to forward the profits to the owner, 
who had returned to England. This system was evi- 
dently a bad one and the company attempted to check 
it by enacting that while planters were at liberty to let 
their plantations and the servants, who worked them, as 
long as they remained in the island, as soon as they 
departed all their interest in the plantation was to cease, 
and the plantation to escheat to the company. In special 
circumstances, permission might be granted for a planter 
to come home, provided he promised to return to Provi- 
dence by the next ship, and in such a case he might let 
his plantation for the period of his absence. It was the 
fixed intention of the leaders that the colony should not 
become what Barbadoes was already fast becoming, a 
colony almost wholly in the hands of servants and factors 
and owned by absentee landlords. 

It must have become evident in the course of our 
enquiry that many causes were tending to form Provi- 
dence into something very different from the ideal Puri- 
tan community aimed at by its English founders. Not 



the least of these causes were the intolerance and narrow- 
ness of the Puritan ministers and their constant en- 
croachments upon the civil power. The defect seems to 
have been inherent in the Puritan temper, for we may 
note it at work in New England, in Scotland, and in other 
Calvinist communities. But whereas in Massachusetts 
such leaders of the colony as Winthrop and Endecott, 
though in favour of theocracy, had yet a strong enough 
backing of public opinion to limit its exercise within 
reasonable bounds, in the tiny Providence community 
the outrageous claims of the ministers resulted in the 
formation of two factions, a small body of zealots 
opposed to a large party that had lost the earnestness 
of Puritanism and considered solely their material wel- 
fare. A quotation or two from the records will illus- 
trate the progressive antagonising of many of the 
colonists by the ministers as their claims became more 
and more aggressive. Henry Halhead was, as we have 
shown, a strong Puritan and in entire sympathy with 
the views of the company, but Ditloflf suspended him 
from the sacrament (1632), ** first for that he did not 
redeliver a stone which he had received from the 
Apothecary, though in answer he alleged that he sup- 
posed that he had delivered it, howsoever that he knew 
not where it was, yet offered to make any honest satis- 
faction. Secondly for affirming to himself [Ditloflf] that 
Mate Wells was a carnal man and would sometimes 
swear, yet to others that he was an honest and religious 
man, and afterwards denying to him that he used the 
word * carnal. ' ' ' The disproportion between these petty 
charges and the punishment meted out caused the com- 
pany to write : * * Though Mr. Halhead did upon answer 
again affirm that, in conference with Mr. Ditloflf, he did 
not use the word 'carnal,' we think it an unfitting thing 
that any minister should keep a man from the Com- 


munion for the foresaid causes alleged in your letter, 
and cannot imagine that any Minister will be so indis- 
creet as to do the like hereafter and therefore in such 
cases we do absolutely forbid it to be done/' The com- 
pany further decreed that censures were to be drawn 
up by the civil magistrates and only if they are to be 
made public in the congregation should the minister be 
consulted. Ditloff, it will be remembered, left the island 
in 1633, and it was only after he had relinquished entirely 
the company's employment that they learned of the high- 
handed way in which he had interfered with the gov- 
ernor's ordinances concerning the management of his 
parish. In 1634 the company wrote: *'We commend 
Mr. Sherrard very much for his discreet and orderly 
carriage, but we discommend the other [DitloflF] in all 
the parts of those proceedings, conceiving that no 
authority belongs to the Ministers or Parishioners of 
themselves to do an act of that nature. And whereas he 
claimed such a power as given to him from us by word 
of mouth, we do utterly disclaim it. If he had not gone 
to his country, we would have punished him." 

Bell had had a good deal of experience in dealing with 
cantankerous ministers in the Somers Islands and did 
his best to hold an even balance between the two factions. 
He attempted in as far as he was able to carry out the 
company's desires for the preservation of a rigid 
decorum in the island, but he found it very diflScult to 
prevent many of the looser sort gathering in New West- 
minster and refusing to do any work in the plantations. 
In 1634 the company wrote that those who would not 
work were not to have any supplies from the stores, 
** according to the Apostle's rule — ^he that will not 
labour, let him not eat. Let care be taken that diligence 
may be supplied and the sluggard clothed with rags." 
They very much approved of the governor's proclama- 



tion for preventing mixed dances, but * ' are sorry to hear 
that, notwithstanding your care and our direction, some 
have the boldness to speak against such restraints. If 
any shall appear to do so we wish that they may be 
admonished, it showing an ill-affection to piety and an 
opposition to authority. We forbear as yet to send 
more particular directions for preventing the abuse of 
God's creatures, but refer it to you at present to take 
the best course you shall be able and to advise with the 
ministers to second your authority with their public 
exhortations.** But while the company were thus ready 
to back up the governor when his views coincided with 
their own, they were not in the least prepared to give 
him a free hand. There is an echo of the constitutional 
struggle in England in the reproof addressed to Bell in 
1634 for his use of an independent judgment. The 
company supported him against the councillors who had 
not observed the respect due to his office, and they 
approved the discontinuance of his personal body-guard, 
of which the cost was very great, but they go on to say 
that in many cases he seems to have grounded his 
authority *'upon a supposed privilege, which you call 
Prerogative, annexed to your place. Our resolution in 
that point will appear in the general letter, and we will 
only add here that we know no such thing as the Gov- 
ernor's Prerogative, being such that you cannot find in 
our Instruction, neither do we like the use of that horrid 
word. . . . Again for the word absolute power, we do 
utterly dislike the language and therefore would not 
have it once named, the same tending to the discourage- 
ment of men 's stay and coming thither. ' ' Too frequent 
meetings of the council, they added, caused desertion of 
the councillors' private business and he should there- 
fore set definite times for them and not vary them except 
in extraordinary circumstances. The meetings must be 


secret, for **it suits not with the gravity of councillors 
to discuss their affairs of counsel in the audience of the 
country especially when there shall arise any difference 
among them/' These words have interest when we 
remember that they were penned by that leader of the 
Long Parliament whose speeches were the first parlia- 
mentary utterances to be circulated throughout the 
nation at large and gave an immense circulation of those 
gazettes and broadsheets that were the earliest fore- 
runners of the modem newspapers. 

The dissensions in the island at the end of 1634 were 
beginning to make Bell's position of mediator an imprac- 
ticable one, for, while on the one hand the planters were 
writing home to the company accusing him of caring 
rather for his own interests than those of the company 
and of favouring the views of the impracticable ministers 
in restraint of freedom of enterprise, on the other the 
ministers were accusing him of impiety and despotism 
for attempting to curb their pretensions. Hope Sherrard 
had been imprisoned in his own house by Bell for per- 
sistently flouting the authority of the governor and 
council, and by stirring up his more fanatical followers 
to attack those planters who did not at once make implicit 
submission to his ecclesiastical censures.^ 

As we have shown, the Golden Falcon carried out to 
Providence in July, 1633, the last distinctively Puritan 
emigrants from England, under the command of a min- 
ister, Henry Eoot. The conditions Eoot found prevail- 
ing in the island were so little like those of a strictly 
Puritan community that he refused to remain, and 
returned to England in the same ship in May, 1634, to 
voice the views of the Puritan faction in the island and 
to open the eyes of the company to the impiety and 

SC/. Sherrard 's letter of February 25, 1035, to his patron, Sir Thomas 
Barrington. Brit. Mus., Eg., 2646, fo. 76. 



laxity that, he said, were rampant and with which Sher- 
rard was left to deal single-handed. Boot's story was 
supplemented by that of the protagonist of the other 
side, William Budyerd, who stated that the island was 
not in itself worth the keeping, but could easily be forti- 
fied and held by six hundred men against any force sent 
to attack it, while a hundred ships might ride safely at 
anchor in its harbour under the command of the ord- 
nance in the forts. These stories must have been a hard 
blow to Pym and the more strongly Puritan adven- 
turers, who had aimed at founding an ideal Puritan 
community for the refuge of the oppressed, and had 
found that they had sunk their money in a colony that 
appeared good for nothing but a privateer's stronghold. 
Boot proposed to return to the island with a large party 
of Puritans, if the company would give him a free hand 
in expelling those whose life and conduct did not con- 
form to the most rigid Puritan standard. Such expul- 
sions had already been frequent in Massachusetts Bay, 
as was of course well known to the company. Boot's 
proposals were fully and carefully considered, but before 
a conclusion could be arrived at, many events had taken 
place that forced the hand of the company, and these we 
must now consider. 

The coast of the province of Honduras, which at first 
runs practically due east from the head of the Golfo 
Dolce, takes a sharp turn to the southward at the cape 
which has been known ever since Columbus's discovery 
of it in his third voyage as Cape Gracias a Dios* (or 
Gratia de Dios), ** Thanks to God," for the promise 
vouchsafed by this change in direction that the search for 
a strait into the Sea of Cathay might not be a fruitless 
one. The whole of the coast near the cape in either 
direction is low-lying and is fringed with many small 

• Herrerai Decadag, 6, f o. 13. 


cays. A large river empties into the sea near the cape 
through a many-mouthed delta, and this river has been 
called by many names ; most maps now give its name as 
the Wanks or Segovia Eiver, but it always appears to 
have been known to the English frequenters of the coast 
simply as the Cape Eiver. The coast is fairly well 
peopled by tribes of the Moskito Indians and near the 
cape itself there are several of their villages surrounding 
a harbour of large size. 

It was upon the shores of this harbour that Capt. 
Sussex Camock established his first trading post sur- 
rounded by a palisade, and it was up the course of the 
Cape Eiver that he attempted to penetrate into the 
interior and get into touch with the Indian tribes. He 
did not think it safe to commit the whole of his trading 
truck to the chances of Indian hostility upon the main- 
land, so a depot was established upon the largest of the 
Moskito Cays lying some eight or ten miles off shore, 
and this was committed to the care of his second in 
command, Capt. Samuel Axe. The trade was under- 
taken in a very systematic fashion, small parties being 
sent out to all Indian villages within reach. The goods 
issued out of the store to each of the parties were 
entered in a register; to every party a man was assigned 
who could write and read, and he was provided with 
pens, paper, and ink, so that he might keep an exact 
journal in writing of the events that happened every 
day amongst his company, and on return to the rendez- 
vous these journals were carefully copied into a ledger. 
Anyone who had strayed from his party and had not com- 
mitted his observations to writing, was to be examined 
on his return and his statements recorded. Great care 
was taken to prevent private trade, especially by mari- 
ners, and the company on several occasions had up 
before them on return to England the mariners who were 


accused of breach of this rule; they even attempted to 
put a stop to the trade in parrots and monkeys by 
charging the sailors ten shilUngs apiece for their freight. 
Full directions had been given to Camock regarding the 
commodities he was to .search out and send home, and 
he had a fair measure of success in the quest, but some 
elusive rarities baffled him. He could find ^ ^ silk-grass, 
gum of pine trees, lignum vitae, and other gums, annatto, 
tomarin, skins of all beasts that have any fur or seem 
vendible, cassia fistula, sarsaparilla, guiacum, mecoa- 
chan or wild potatoes, red oil and contra yerba, which 
is antidote against poison of serpents and arrows, '* but 
we never hear of his success as regards ^ ^ the bezar stone, 
the manatee stone, or the stone in the alligator's head.'' 

It was an especial fear of the company that Camock 
would come into contact with the Spaniards, and he was 
repeatedly cautioned against aggression. **We desire 
you," wrote the company, **to remove all occasions of 
jealousy or suspicion that this design should be intended 
for plunder rather than for the business of lawful trade. 
And therefore take special order that none be employed 
to take anything from the Spaniards or any other nation 
by violence or otherwise than by way of peaceful com- 
merce. We pray you to have a special care of the fugitive 
Spaniard that we hear is with you lest he should escape 
and so make his own peace by betraying of that business. 
While he is amongst you let his usage be as he deserves. ' ' 

By the end of 1634 the trade on the Main appeared 
so successful and Camock 's flax promised to be so much 
of a commercial success, that the principal members of 
the company resolved that a fresh patent for the trade 
should be obtained and special subscriptions invited for 
its carrying on to the exclusion of the Hollanders who, 
they heard, were beginning to cast, their eyes upon the 


Moskito Coast. Oliver St. John and Pym were deputed 
to draw a patent entirely distinct from the patent of 
the Providence Company, and the Earl of Holland 
promised to move the king for a grant and to crave the 
assistance of the lord treasurer.^^ A good deal of dis- 
cussion took place as to whether everyone in the Provi- 
dence Company should be permitted to invest in the 
new company or whether they should not be first com- 
pelled to complete their adventures in Providence. Sir 
Nathaniel Eich maintained the view that no one should 
be permitted to enter the new company unless he had 
subscribed to every adventure before;" but Pym took 
the far more generous view that by subscribing at all 
to the Providence Company the adventurers had ac- 
quired a right to participate in any new ventures. He 
held that the trade at the Main was contemplated in the 
original design of the Providence Company, that each 
subscriber to the preference stock had contributed 
towards the expenses of exploring the Main as well as 
to the expenses of Providence, and that Camock's party 
were the employes of the whole company. He urged, 
therefore, that every member should have the right to 
subscribe if he thought fit, and even if he did not sub- 
scribe, he should have a right to a portion of the profits. 
Pym's views, however, were too broad for the rest of 
the company, and at the motion of Sir Nathaniel Eich 
it was resolved that everything done in the past should 
be neglected and only those subscribing to the stock of 
the new company should receive any benefit from the 
new trade. 

10 Weston, Earl of Portland. 

11 In the short life of Sir Nathaniel Bich in the Diet. Nat, Biog,, his 
attitude is entirely misrepresented. It is stated that he pursued a forward 
policy and in 1635 advocated admission of all adventurers to the trade of 
the Main. This is almost the contrary of his real proposaL 



The new patent was issued in March, 1635," to the 
earls of Warwick and Holland and their associates under 
the name of ' * The Governor and Company of Adventur- 
ers of the City of London for a trade upon the coasts 
and islands of divers parts of America/' The right of 
sole trade with the heathen on the shores of the Carib- 
bean was granted to the new company where they were 
not under the dominion of any Christian prince. The 
company was granted for fourteen years **the sole 
manufacture of all thread and stuff to be made of a 
kind of flagg or grass brought from those parts and not 
in common use in this kingdom, which is by them called 
Cammock's flax, and of the sole manufacture and 
employment of aU kinds of new materials and mer- 
chandize not heretofore commonly used in this Bealm, 
which shall by them be brought from those parts, and 
found to be profitable and useful here. They are to pay 
custom for the said Cammock's flax after the rate of the 
best unwrought flax now brought into this kingdom and 
for all other commodities after the rate of 5 per cent 
according to the clear value of the goods and not above. ' * 
It was decided that as all the oflScers of the Providence 
Company, save the Earl of Holland, were subscribers 
to the stock of the new company, the same officers should 
serve both for the plantation and for the trade. 

We have already seen that considerable difficulty was 
found by the company in obtaining Puritan emigrants to 
the colony and that only a few had gone out with Boot 
in the Golden Falcon in 1633. The voyage of 1634 was 
planned on a more lavish scale than that of 1633, and 
the money obtained by the issue of the preference stock^* 

I'Docquet Book, March, 103%. The grant is apparently not calendared 
in C. 8, P. Colonial or Dometiic, 

IS See p. 126. When this preference stock was fully subscribed the total 
Bom paid up on each whole share of adventure was £1025. In July, 1634, 
the total paid-up capital of the company amounted to about £20,(HK). 


was devoted to hiring a ship of three hundred tons, the 
Long Robert, and purchasing a pinnace and ketch to 
accompany her. Two weU-fumished magazines were put 
on board and Pym gave a large amount of personal atten- 
tion to seeing that everything sent was of excellent qual- 
ity. It was found almost impossible to secure emigrants 
of decent standing, and with the exception of a few 
planters returning to Providence, a minister, Bartholo- 
mew Styles, going to Association, and one or two Puritan f 
gentlemen, the passengers were bond-servants recruited 
by paid agents" and sent out to serve the oflScers and 
council. DiflSculties were found in getting together even 
penniless servants and the company complained bitterly 
in their letters to the council that the discouraging infor- 
mation sent home in the planters' letters had prevented 
decent. God-fearing men of substance f rpm emigrating to 
Providence. In order to make up the deficiency, the 
master of the Long Robert was directed to call at St. 
Christopher and attempt to recruit for the colony among 
the planters and servants there. He was also to call at 
Association and purchase thirty negroes, who were to 
be transported to Providence and were allotted as ser- 
vants to the oflScers. Nothing could indicate more 
plainly than did these directions that the company 
recognised the failure of their attempt to provide in the 
Caribbean a second home for Puritan refugees. 

The total expenditure on the voyage amounted to 
£3000 and the Long Robert and her consorts left England 
in September, 1634. It was expected that a full and 
valuable freight would be found awaiting her at Provi- 
dence, but these expectations were woefully disappointed. 
In June, 1635, the vessel returned, bringing nothing but 

14 Eighteen shillings a head was received for servants bj the recruiting 
agents at this period, but a couple of years later as much as 22s. was given 
owing to the increased difficulty of obtaining recruits. 


a poor cargo of tobacco and cotton, and with many of 
the quondam planters of the colony on board. Their 
complaints of the conduct of the governor and council 
and their girdings at the restraints upon their conduct 
imposed by the minister, Sherrard, were a poor return 
to the company, whose orders the governor and minister 
had endeavoured to carry out to the best of their ability. 
And not merely were the Puritan members of the com- 
pany hurt in the failure of their ideals of a Puritan 
community; their pockets also were badly hit, for the 
voyage of the Long Robert, instead of doing something 
to reimburse the adventurers for their previous expendi- 
ture, had added a sum of at least £1300 to the company's 
indebtedness. The goods brought home in the Robert 
fetched only £328-5s.-ld., and the thirteen undertakers 
for the voyage had to pay in £100-15s.-2i/4d. each to make 
up the deficiency. The total amount owed by the com- 
pany, not including this £1309, was £2750, and this 
indebtedness was a constant source of uneasiness to the 
treasurer, Pym. In May, 1635, he pointed out to the 
company that, at the departure of the Long Robert, the 
company's assets exceeded its liabilities, so that the 
whole of the debt had accrued in a year. He **put the 
Company in mind of the burden and charge of that office 
of Treasurer, which he had borne ever since their first 
incorporation, whereby he had been diverted from his 
own business and put upon extraordinary expense." 
At Sir Nathaniel Eich's motion, it was resolved to make 
a levy upon all members to pay oflf the debt. The feel- 
ings of Rich and of Pym, who had been so energetic in 
persuading their friends and relatives to become adven- 
turers and to invest money in the enterprise, must have 
been none of the pleasantest, and from 1635 onwards we 
find that no more adventurers of the same class joined 
the company, but almost all of the additional capital 


raised was contributed by the wealthy men who were 
already adventurers, Warwick, Saye, Brooke, Eudyerd, 
and Pym, together with two other wealthy Puritans, Lord 
Mandeville and Sir William Waller. 

Although the results of the Long Robert* s voyage were 
not yet known, no money could be raised to send out a 
ship in 1635, and the needful s.upplies to the island to the 
value of £716 were forwarded by the ship Expectation, 
owned by William Woodcock, the company *s husband, 
which was sailing for St. Christopher and was placed 
at the company's disposal after she had finished her 
unlading there. Only twenty passengers went out in her 
and with the exception of ten servants and of Sherrard's 
betrothed, who was going out to be married to him, none 
of them were fresh to the colony. The Expectation left 
England in April, 1635, and returned in the following 
December, bringing the news of the great Spanish attack 
on Providence, which we shall consider in a subsequent 
chapter. With the return of the Expectation, the history 
of Providence as a Puritan haven may be said in the 
main to have come to an end and consequently our 
interest at this point centers on different aspects of the 






In an earlier chapter we left the story of the Puritans 
of New England at the time when the great expedition 
set sail under John Winthrop, the elder, and the colony 
of Massachusetts sprang into vigorous life. From 
the very first there was little doubt of success, and by 
1635 a flourishing and already fairly prosperous co 
munity was spread around the shores of Massachuse 
Bay. Our interest now turns once more to this m 
stream of Puritan migration, as did the minds of 
Puritan leaders in England, and it seems at last p 
with the means at our disposal to sxxuaj^ the t]:ue ve 
of a story that has in the past causeomuch controversy. 
After the restoration of Charles 11 to the English throne 
in 1660, it was said by the royalist writers. Dr. George 
Bate and Sir William Dugdale, that about 1638 the 
Puritan leaders, Pym, Hampden, and Cromwell, em- 
barked on shipboard with the intention of proceeding 
to New England, but that they were stopped by the king's 
orders and compelled to remain in England, to plot 
rebellion. This story has been largely discredited by 
historians, and John Forster, the biographer of Pym, 
having shown that such an occurrence could not have 
taken place in 1638 or later, came to the conclusion that 
no credence could be attached to Dugdale 's statement. 
That actual embarkation took place is certainly untrue, 
but our present investigation seems to make clear that 
the story is a fair interpretation of the plans of Pym, 


Hampden, and others; and, though it is impossible to 
speak definitely as to the plans of Oliver Cromwell, who, 
down to 1642, was not regarded as a person of much 
importance among the Puritans, yet there is a proba- 
bility that he would have followed the path of his friends 
had it been necessary. 

The absolutist regime, that had been entered upon by 
Charles I after the dissolution of parliament in 1629, 
had by 1635 been in full activity for six years and to 
those who regarded externals only must have appeared 
to justify itself by its success. Clarendon asserts of this 
time that never had England enjoyed Duch order and 
prosperity and never had her material well-being been 
more envied by her distracted and war-ridden Conti- 
/ nental neighbours. But in reality the mood of despair 
that had overwhelmed the best minds of the nation in 
1629 had not been dispelled as time went on, and by 1635 
it seemed as though England were destined to remain 
subject to a well-meaning but incapable and capricious 
despotism. Beneath the outward calm, deep discontent 
lay hid, for nearly every class in the community found 
itself attacked or menaced by the injudicious meddle- 
someness of the government or by its unwise devices for 
the increase of the revenues of the crown. To the 
ordinary man these devices were irksome and unsettling 
enough, but to an earnest Puritan, whose religious feel- 
ings were at the same time being outraged by his 
Arminian enemies in high places, they were unbearable. 
The tide of migration to New England, that had begun 
to flow when Winthrop and his followers sailed in 1630, 
had moved on with ever-swelling increase, till 1635 saw 
the largest number of emigrants leave England's shores 
for Massachusetts that ever passed thither.^ Thence- 
forward the tide began to slacken as the progressive 

1 Hutchinson *s History of Maasachuaeita Bay, 1, 41. 



steps taken against the royal absolutism began to 
rouse men's hopes in a restoration of parliamentary 

It will be remembered' that on March 19, 1632, the 
Earl of Warwick, then president of the New England 
Council, deeded a tract of land south of Massachusetts 
to a body of patentees including most of the members 
of the Providence Company. On the 21st and 26th of 
the following June,' the New England Council agreed 
to the rough draft of a patent to Warwick, who directed 
that it be made out to Lord Rich and his associates, but 
there is no evidence that a patent was ever actually 
issued. That a blank draft was drawn up is clear, but, 
in default of a formal confirmation by the council, the 
deed of March remained without validity. Warwick had 
for some time been getting out of touch with the rest of 
the New England Council, owing to his patronage of the 
Massachusetts settlers, and this renewed attempt to 
establish another Puritan settlement in New England 
seems to have finally brought about an open breach with 
Gorges, for the meeting at which it was made was the ' 
last at which the earl was present, and within a week we ' 
find the members resolving to reconstitute the council 
and sending to the Earl of Warwick to ask him to deliver 
up the council's seal. From November, 1632, the council 
fell entirely into the hands of the court party under the 
presidency, first of the Earl of Lindsey and later of 
Hamilton, Arundel, and Carlisle with Ferdinando 
Gorges as its leading and most active member. The 
affairs of the council became a crying scandal by 1635 
and consisted mainly of quarrels over the division of 
lands ; so serious had matters become that the king was 

s See p. 83. 

s ''Becords of Council for New England," at Warwick Honse, 21 and 26 
June, 1632, Proo. of Amer. Antiq. Soc. for 1867, p. 100. 


bound to step in, and the charter was surrendered into 
his hands on April 25, 1635, the last act of the council 
being to publish a manifesto reciting the wrongs done 
to its members and especially to the Gorges family by 
the Massachusetts settlers. 

The winter of 1634-1635 was a particularly trying time 
for the Puritan leaders in England, who were harassed 
by the government at all points. At the forest court 
held for Waltham Forest in October, 1634, both Warwick 
and Barrington suffered in their estates by Sir John 
Finch 's strict enforcement of the forest laws ;* Saye had 
been attacked both on his Oxfordshire and his Gloucester- 
shire estates, and Brooke in Warwickshire in the same 
* way. Pym, in the winter of 1633-1634, had been twice 
sued by the attorney-general for remaining in London 
to look after the business of the Providence Company 
instead of returning to his house in the country. The 
Roman emissary, Gregorio Panzani, had been welcomed 
with open arms at court and conversions to the Roman 
Church were being announced daily; while the laws 
against recusants, so dear to the hearts of the Puritan 
leaders, were everywhere a dead letter, the archbishop's 
metropolitical visitation was in full swing and Puritan 
divines were everywhere being silenced, browbeaten, 
and fined. Early in 1635, Warwick had to suffer the 
indignity of dividing his lord lieutenancy of Essex with 
Lord Maynard, and on the death of Lord Treasurer 
Portland in March, 1635, another powerful office fell 
under the sway of the hated archbishop, who was placed 
first on the commission to exercise the lord treasurer- 

4 C. 8, p. Dom., 1634-1635, p. xzxiii. For Saye and the Forest of Which- 
wood in Oxfordshire, see Whitelocke'e Memoridla, 1, 70. 

Gardiner (VIII, 129) shows that there was an ever-spreading apprehen- 
sion of danger at this time. The English Church might at any time fall 
a victim to a conspiracy carried on in the very name of the king by Laud, 
its prime mover. 



ship. The first writ of ship-money had been levied on 
maritime counties in October, 1634, with a reasonable 
plea of urgent naval necessity, but the winter was full 
of rumours that the impost was to be extended over the 
whole country,' and this was quite a different matter. 

The cup of bitterness for the Puritan leaders was filled 
to overflowing and they began to think that the time had 
come for them also to look across the Atlantic for fresh 
homes, where so many of their humble brethren had 
already gone. John Winthrop, the younger, had lost his 
wife in September, 1634, and sailed for England in 
October, much disillusioned with Massachusetts and 
desiring to begin a settlement elsewhere in New Elngland. 
It was only natural that on his return to London he 
should enter into close communication with those who 
had been such good friends to Massachusetts as Lord 
Saye and Sir Nathaniel Rich, and should give them all 
the personal information he could about the new colonies. 
It has not been possible to trace the details of the nego- 
tiations that went on in the spring of 1635, and indeed 
it seems very unlikely that it will ever be possible to 
do so, for both Saye and Brooke were constant objects 
of suspicion to the government* and would commit as 
little as possible of their projects to paper. 

No steps had been taken to act upon the Saybrook 
grant, which Warwick had drawn up, until July, 1633,^ 

sin June the lord keeper, Coventry, openly told the judges, ''Upon 
advice [the King] hath resolved that he will forthwith send out new writs 
for the preparation of a greater fleet next year and that not only to the 
maritime towns but to all the kingdom besides." Bushworth, II, 294. 

• C. 8. P. Dam., 1635, p. 164. 

7 In the year 1633, Saye, Brooke, Saltonstall, Haselrigg, and others pur- 
chased for £2150 the interest of an association of merchants from Bristol, 
Shrewsbury, and other towns of western England in Piscataqua and Ken- 
nebec, and became involved with the Plymouth colony on account of the 
murder of Capt. Hocking. Bradford, Hist, of Plym, Plant, (ed. 1912, 
Ford), pp. 175-180, and notes. 


when the Providence Company agreed to lend to Lords 
Saye and Brooke five pieces of ordnance, viz., two 
minions and three faulcons, for their use in New Eng- 
land, but nothing further was done until, in May, 1635, 
Sir Richard Saltonstall sent out twenty men — the Stiles 
party* — to the Connecticut Valley to make a beginning 
of a settlement under the grant, and Woodcock, the 
husband of the Providence Company, was directed to 
assemble stores for the despatch of a larger expedition. 
It was at last decided definitely that southern Connecti- 
cut should replace Providence as the scene of the building 
up of the Puritan colony planned by the patentees, and 
on July 7, 1635,* an agreement was signed with John 
Winthrop, jr., as leader of the pioneer expedition on 
their behalf. In the words of his commission, ' ' He shall 
endeavour to provide able men, to the number of fifty 
at least, for making of fortifications and building of 
houses at the river Connecticut and the harbour adjoin- 
ing, first for their own present accommodation, and then 
such houses as may receive men of quality, which houses 
we would have to be builded in the fort.'' The commis- 
sion was signed for the rest of the patentees by Sir 
Richard Saltonstall, Henry Lawrence, Henry Darley, Sir 
Arthur Haselrigg, and George Fenwick, who had been 
appointed to remain in London and act as a committee 
in charge of the affair.^® Large sums were being sub- 

• In July this party, composed of Saltonfltall'e senrants led by Francis 
Stiles, appeared at Windsor on the Connecticut and claimed the territory 
by virtue of their patent But the previous occupants from Dorchester in 
Massachusetts ignored the demands of these representatives of the "Lords 
and Gentlemen." They aUowed the Stiles servants to settle on the place, 
but refused any recognition of the claims of the patentees. 

9 Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll,, 5th Ser., I, 482. The agreement and commission 
were drawn up by William Jessop, who was acting as clerk to the Saybrook 
patentees. As we already know, Jessop was secretary of the Providence 

10 Trumbull, I, 497. 



scribed to finance the expedition, for Winthrop took 
£2000 with him," and we find Philip Nye writing to him 
in July, ' * I have sent the other £1000 by Mr. Peirce^* to be 
delivered to your father for you/' It was the expendi- 
ture of their capital on this design on the Connecticut 
River that rendered it impossible for the adventurers to 
secure sufficient subscriptions to send out a ship of their 
own to Providence in 1635. Winthrop sailed from Eng- 
land about the beginning of August, 1635, accompanied 
by the son of the comptroller of the king's household, 
young Henry Vane, who was deep in the Puritan counsels 
and upon whose judgment the leaders placed great 
reliance. The project was by now becoming generally 
known and on September 1, 1635, we find Garrard writing 
to the lord deputy:*' **Mr. Comptroller Sir Henry Vane's 
eldest son hath left his Father, his Mother, his Country 
and that fortune which his father would have left him 
here, and is for conscience sake gone into New England, 
there to lead the rest of his days, being about twenty 
years of age. He had abstained two years from taking 
the Sacrament in England, because he could get nobody 
to administer it to him standing. He was bred up in 
Leyden and I hear that Sir Nathaniel Rich and Mr. Pym 
have done him much hurt in their persuasions this way. 
God forgive them for it, if they be guilty. ' ' 

The interest in the north of England in the new project 
was very great and many of the Yorkshire gentry who 

11 This we learn with some other particulars from a letter from Philip 
Nje to John Winthrop, jr., 28 July, 1635 (Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll, 5th series, 
I, 210). Nje, a prot^g^ of Lord Mandeville 's, was assisting Jessop with 
the secretarial work. The regulations concerning residence were being 
very strictly enforced on the country gentlemen in 1635 and the plague was 
raging in London. Practically the whole work of the Providence Company 
was being done by a committee of Pym, Parley, and Woodcock for this 

IS The celebrated New England shipmaster. 

i» Strafford Papera, I, 463. 


had been antagonised by the harsh administration of the 
Council of the North, had been persuaded by Darley's 
influence to consider migration to the new colony. Sir 
Matthew Boynton of Bramston, for example, a strong 
Puritan and M. P. for Scarborough in the Long Parlia- 
ment, wrote to Winthrop through Henry Darley:" "I 
pray you advertise me what course I shall take for pro- 
viding a house against my coming over, where I may 
remain with my family till I can be better provided to 
settle myself, and let me have your best assistance, and 
withal, I pray you, let me receive advice from time to 
time what provisions are most commodious to be made 
there or to be sent from hence, that so I may make the 
best advantage of my time before I come, as also what 
things will be most expedient for me both for my neces- 
sary use and benefit there to bring over with me when 
I come. ' ' All through the autumn of 1635 preparations 
were going on apace, but as quietly and unostentatiously 
as possible. So much were the energies of the patentees 
immersed in the new design that Providence was entirely 
neglected for a time and no meetings of the company 
were held between the beginning of June and the end 
of November. On September 22, 1635, Henry Lawrence 
wrote to Winthrop:" **I shall remember you now but 
of two things, one is the place of our pitching, wherein 
(if in anything) we are peremptory for Connecticut, it 
being, as you know, and so continuing, the joint resolu- 
tion of us all that nothing but a plain impossibility could 
divert us from that place, which in many respects we 
conceived most advantageous both for the securing of 
our friends at the Bay" and our own personal accom- 

14 Mass. Hist. Soe. Coll, 4th series, VII, 164. 

15 Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., 5th series, I, 214. 

i< That is, securing the Massachnsetts settlers from the encroachments of 
the Dutch. 


modations. . . . [The other] is that fortifications and 
some convenient buildings for the receipt of the gentle- 
men may go hand in hand, for there are likely to come 
more over next summer, both to be witness of what you 
have done and to thank you for it, than you are yet 
aware of. Other things I shall leave to your own wisdom 
and the directions given you, earnestly beseeching God 
that He would farther suggest such things to us all as 
may be most for the glory of His great name and (which 
in this design we specially aim at) the good of His 
churches." Winthrop and Vane reached Massachusetts 
in October, 1635, and the first steps were at once taken 
to commence the new settlement. A vessel with twenty 
men" and some ordnance started in November, which 
reached its destination on the 24th, and formal posses- 
sion of the territory was taken in the name of the 
patentees. Under the direction of Lyon Gardiner, an 
English engineer, who had seen service under the Prince 
of Orange, a fort and houses were built of '*a spungie 
kind of timber called a read oack," the ' ' pallisadoes " 
being composed of whole trees set in the ground, and 
here, during an exceptionally cold winter, Winthrop, 
Gardiner, and the score of settlers made shift to live. In 
the spring Fenwick arrived, only to return to England 
in the summer for his wife, Alice Apsley, widow of Sir 
John Boteler of Teston, Kent, whom he brought to the 
colony in 1639. 

Meanwhile, the Puritan leaders in England had been 
drawing up a suggested basis for the constitution of the 
colony, and this was despatched by Saye to the authorities 

17 These twenty men may have been the servants of Sir Matthew Bojnton, 
referred to in Bojnton's letter of April 12, 1637, to Winthrop, releasing 
his servants in Connecticut from their engagements to him and giving 
them leave to shift for themselves. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll,, 4th series, VII, 


in Massachusetts late in the year with a request for their 
suggestions upon it. This scheme^* has always been a 
well-known document and has by some writers been 
regarded as a base attempt to foist an aristocratic consti- 
tution upon a people who had succeeded in freeing them- 
selves from the control of absolutism. In reality the 
scheme was most reasonable and should be of interest 
to students of EngUsh history as showing in their own 
words what was the conception of an ideal constitution, 
or we might rather say what was the conception of the 
time-honoured English constitution, that was held by the 
men who, within so few years, were to sway the destinies 
of England for good or ill. It is of immediate interest 
to the student of Puritan colonisation from a narrower 
point of view, for from time to time, when the answers 
of the ruling oligarchy in Massachusetts to the patentees ' 
demands were despatched by the pen of Cotton, is to be 
dated the progressive estrangement between the Eng- 

is Hutchinson's History of MaasaeJmietU Bay, 1, 490. 

"Certain proposals made by Lord Saje, Lord Brooke, and other Persons 
of quality, as conditions of their removing to New England with the 
answers thereto : ' ' 

1. Two ranks of citizens, gentlemen and freeholders. 

2. The power of making and repealing laws to lie in the two ranks 
assembled together. 

3. Each rank to possess a negative voice. 

4. The first rank to attend Parliament personally, the second by deputy. 

5. The ranks to sit in two Houses. 

6. Set times to be appointed for the meeting of Parliament yearly or 

7. Parliament to have the power of calling the Governor to account and 
all officers to determine with a new Parliament, unless Parliament enact 

8. The governor always to be chosen out of the ranks of gentlemen. 

9. The Patentees and those aiding them should belong to the first rank 
but afterwards appointments to it should be made with the consent of both 

10. Freeholders should have a certain estate or contribute a certain 
amount to the public charges. 



lish and the American Puritans, that will, to a certain 
extent, call for our attention in following chapters. To 
none of the patentees' demands did the Massachusetts 
rulers make any material objection, for these demands 
very closely represented the constitution under which all 
of the Puritans had grown up. But the Massachusetts , 
leaders added to these demands the important and funda- 
mental condition that civil rights should be obtainable . 
only through church membership and, be it understood, 
church membership as guarded and granted or withheld 
by the spiritual power. The demand was impossible of 
acceptance by English aristocrats of the profoundly 
Erastian temper of Saye and of Pym, and we may 
already discern that two parties had sprung from the 
nonconforming Puritanism of King James's day; on the 
one hand, we have the narrow theocrats of New Eng- 
land, steeped in the theology and political speculations of 
Leyden and Dort and resolved to confine the full rights 
of citizenship to the orthodox adherents of their creed ; 
on the other, we have the Erastian English squires, con- 
servative laymen glorying in what they believed to be 
England's ancient constitution. 

While the Saybrook grantees were contemplating an 
immediate removal of themselves, their families, and 
their fortunes to the other side of the Atlantic, the 
government of England was falling more and more into 
the hands of Laud, who, when he succeeded Weston as 
practical head of the Treasury in March, 1635, secured 
a power in the Privy Council that was thenceforth 
almost supreme. Colonial matters, too, began to occupy 
the archbishop's attention, for in 1634 he had been 
nominated one of twelve commissioners to supervise the 
colonies." No objections had been found to the lines 
upon which New England was developing, when the 

19 CoL Pap., 28 April, 1634. 


first governmental enquiry into its affairs was made in 
1633, and the well-known nonconformity of the colonists 
was tacitly acquiesced in. But Laud's accession to 
power in any sphere was marked by a tightening up of 
administration and a legally minded supervision of 
details that left little room for flexibility and toleration. 
The quarrel over the New England Council in 1635 and'^ 
Gorges 's accusations against Massachusetts would have 
drawn the archbishop's unfavourable attention to the: 
colony, even had he not been receiving complaints from 
the churchmen expelled by its rulers. For the first time, 
in 1635, an oath of conformity to the Prayer Book had 
been demanded above and beyond the usual oath of 
allegiance from those wishing to emigrate, and in the 
course of the summer the news of Roger Williams 's pro- 
ceedings and the views he was expounding in the colony 
began to reach the archbishop and roused in him the 
conviction that something definite must be done. When, ^ 
therefore, he learned that so notable a person as Vane 
had gone, and that eminent opponents of the govern- 
ment, such as Saye and Brooke, were making prepara- 
tions to go to New England, he resolved that instant 
steps must be taken to crush the movement and to pre- 
vent so important an accession of strength to the recal- 
citrant colony. For the first time the eyes of England's 
governors were opened to what had been going on 
unheeded in America; it had not seemed a very great 
thing that such an unimportant and dispossessed lawyer 
as Winthrop, such a land steward as Dudley, or such 
silenced ministers as Cotton and Hooker, should lead 
farmers and tradesmen across the Atlantic, but when 
men personally known and disliked at court, such as 
the bitter-tongued Saye or the severe and lofty-minded 
Brooke, began to talk of selling their estates, and when 
the son and heir of one so well known as Sir Henry Vane 


had actually sailed for Massachusetts^ the matter had 
become serious. 

Into the details of the suit of quo warranto against the 
Massachusetts Bay Company, begun in 1635, we need not ; 
enter here, but a letter*** from Nye to John Winthrop, jr., i 
in the same month will illustrate the way in which the ' 
government had begun to frustrate the intentions of the ' 
would-be emigrants: **We have sent you some servants, 
but not so many as we purposed; the reason is this. | 
Some of the gentlemen of the north, who lay 3 or 4 
months in London transacting these affairs, did think : 
that there would have been no notice of their purposes, ' 
and therefore assumed to send us up servants, but when 
they came down, found the country full of the reports 
of their going now. Those two (being Deputy Lieuten- | 
ants of the shire) did not dare to move any further in 
sending up of men. My lord Brooke likewise, that under- 
took for twenty, failed likewise and sent us not one. Our 
gentlemen's minds remain the same and are in a wayj 
of selling off their estates with the greatest expedition. ' ^ 
I The moment had gone by never to return; by the gen- 
eral trend of affairs and by the direct connivance of the 
government, the Puritan leaders became once more 
immersed in English politics, their eyes were once more 
turned, first to di£Sculties in their own counties andi 
later to the great national struggle, and never again did 
they look to New England as likely to provide them witl^ 
a home. In August, 1635, the second writs for the col- 
lection of ship-money were issued and, regardless of 
precedent, for the first time the inland counties were 
called upon to contribute. Special harshness was exer- 
cised in the collection from the tenants of persons of 
known hostility to the government, such as Saye and 

so Philip Nye to John Winthrop, jr., 2 Sept., 1635. Mass. Hist. Soc Coll., 
5th series, I, 210. 


Brooke, and before the end of 1635 serious disturbances 
had arisen in Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, and Essex, and 
the Puritan leaders were soon deeply immersed in a 
concerted design for organising a resistance to pay- 
ment that should be national in character and sufficient 
to tax the whole energies of the government. 

The Saybrook settlement was abandoned by its pro- 
moters. Fenwick remained, burdened with heavy ex- 
penses and in daily expectation of a large accession of 
noblemen and gentlemen from England, but as the years 
passed and no results were attained, he wrote, in 1642 
and 1643, to Haselrigg and Barrington, begging for 
information as to their plans, only to learn that Lord 
Brooke, Sir William Constable, and Sir Matthew Boyn- 
ton had relinquished all intention of crossing the water, 
and that the proposed emigration had been given up, 
because '^ affairs in England had taken such a turn that 
persons of that character had no occasion for an asy- 
lum.'* Wearying of his burden and yet desirous of 
securing the patentees against loss, he offered their 
*' whole interest heare and in the River *' to the Connec- 
ticut towns for £3000. The towns rejecting this offer, 
made tender of £200 a year for ten years, payable in 
com, pork, and pipe-staves, but Fenwick refused. With 
the failure of further negotiations, Fenwick in despera- 
tion thought of renting out the land, but soon discovered 
that in New England a quit-rent would not be borne. 
He also thought of levying a custom toll on the river 
traffic, but that plan also he abandoned. Realising that 
there was '*no other way but selling out of it to 
the [Connecticut] towns,'* for the housing and fortifi- 
cation were in such bad repair that continued posses- 
sion would cost more than could be spared, he again 
approached the northern colony, and on December 5, 
1644, accepted their terms and transferred the title to 



Saybrook to the inhabitants of Hartford, Wethersfield, 
and Windsor. Henceforward Saybrook was a part of 
the colony of Connecticut J 


Si Brit Mas., Eg., 2646, foe. 181, 182, 240; 2648, fo. 1; Mms. Hist Soe. 
CcU., 4ih serifls, YII, 169, 5th series, IX, 381 ; Hutehiiisoii, Higt., I, 64. 




Our attention has so far been directed mainly to the 
work of the Providence Company and its members, as 
far as they were involved in the great movement of 
Puritan migration. We must now direct our enquiry to 
another aspect of the subject and regard the colonies of 
Providence and Association in connection with the Span- 
ish possessions that lay round about them. The Spanish 
dominions in America differed essentially from the settle- 
ments of other European nations in America in that the 
latter were either self-governing communities, such as 
Virginia and Massachusetts, or were under the imme- 
diate control of a commercial company, such as the Dutch 
West India Company, and had little direct interference 
to suffer from the home government. The Spanish gov- 
ernment, on the other hand, through the Council of the 
Indies, exercised an all-pervading control over the colo- 
nies, and a perpetual stream of orders dealing with the 
smallest details of government was poured upon the 
governor of every kingdom in the Indies.* The fortunes 
of the Castilian monarchy, therefore, had a most potent 
influence upon the energy with which designs were 
matured and carried out, even when the designs merely 
concerned such small islands in the Caribbean as Provi- 
dence and Tortuga. From 1628 on, the Spanish govern- 
ment, in addition to its constant difficulties in raising 
financial supplies from exhausted provinces wherewith 

iF. A. Kirkpatriek in Camb, Mod. Higt., X, 248; Bourne, Spain in 
America, 225-227. 



to carry on the never-ending struggles in Flanders and 
Germany, had to conduct the unsuccessful Mantuan War 
in North Italy against Richelieu and his allies, the Pope 
and Venice. The task proved overwhelming and at 
length, in April, 1631, Olivares, the all-powerful minister 
of Philip IV, was compelled to sign the ignominious trea- 
ties of Cherasco, which marked another step in the down- 
faU of Spain from her once dominant position. While 
the war was raging little attention could be spared for 
American affairs, but the short interval of peace before 
war with France again broke out in May, 1635, was 
marked by many attempts to deal with the swarms of 
foreigners, that since 1625 had swooped down upon the 
unoccupied islands of the Antilles and were rapidly 
strangling the remaining commerce of the Indies. Sug- 
gestions for dealing with the difficulty and for expelling 
the Dutch, French, and English, were invited from the 
governors of all the provinces surrounding the Carib- 
bean. Many of the replies* afford graphic pictures of 
the difficulties against which the royal governors in the 
New World had to contend. The constant burden of com- 
plaint in the replies is that the whole of the wealth of 
the Indies must be despatched to Spain, though salaries 
are unpaid, fortresses are in need of repair, and it is 
impossible to find means for equipping a fleet against 
the corsairs. The case made out was bad enough to 
move even the government of PhiUp IV to action and 
strict orders were despatched that everything possible 
was to be done against the intruders, even though the 
cost reduced a little the tribute sent to Europe. The 
sacrifice was a great one to the Castilian monarchy, for 
only with the produce of the Indies could even an attempt 

3 Bee espeeiallj Venezuela Papers, Add. MSS., 36322, fos. 7, 69, 175, 180; 
Add. MSS. (Kingsborough CoUeetion), 13992, fo. 110, 13974, fo. 71, 13977, 
fo. 14. 


be made to satisfy the insatiable demands of Flanders 
and Germany upon the Spanish exchequer, and Piet 
Hein's capture of the Plate Fleet of 1627 had been a 
terrible blow to Spain's ever-dwindling credit. 

St. Christopher and Nevis had been temporarily 
cleared of English and French in 1629, but the greatest 
effort was made in 1633 when Juan de Eulate, governor 
of Margarita, destroyed a settlement of trading Eng- 
lishmen at Punta Galena, on the eastern side of Trini- 
dad,' and then passed on to the capture of Tobago from 
the Dutch and the massacre of the unfortunate prisoners 
taken in that island.* The Windward Islands had also 
to suffer attack and the Dutch in St. Martin's were 
wiped out in the same year. St. Martin's was at this 
period one of the most important of the Lesser Antilles, 
for it was everywhere famous for its salt pans and 
thither collected ships of all nationalities to obtain the 
salt made by its Dutch colonists. After the departure of 
the fleet from St. Martin's and in order to avoid the 
return of those expelled, a Spanish garrison was left in 
the island' and there remained for some years. Curasao 
was held by the Dutch in great force and owing to its 
defensibility succeeded in beating back the attempt of 
the governor of Venezuela to capture it in the same year, 

Needless to say, the news of this Spanish activity 
caused the greatest uneasiness to the Providence Com- 
pany and its colonists, and some extracts from a letter 
of Minister Sherrard to Sir Thomas Barrington will 
convey an idea of their attitude towards the expected 

s Venezuela Papers, Add. MSS., 36322, f o. 208. Juan de Eulate to King, 
Margarita, 20 Julj, 1633. 
« Ihid., 36324, f os. 89, 233. 
B Add. MSa, 13977, f o. 509. 
• /did., fo. 510. 



attack/ In January, 1634, he writes : * * Blessed be God, 
that hath hitherto put his hook into the mouth and his 
bridle into the jaws of His and our enemies, that they 
could not so much as make any attempt upon us, and 
still let Him say of them as He did of Sennacherib — 
They shall not shoot forth an arrow here. Amen. — ^We 
have need of prayers and faith now, if ever, considering 
our imminent danger, having not shot for above a day's 
fight in case an enemy should assault us; and besides 
fifty of our ablest and helpfuUest men are gone from us 
of late, some to the Main and some for England, so that 
we have not able men half enough to man our forts nor 
any power of men to speak of to repel an enemy from 
landing, so that we must now console ourselves as well 
in the want as if we had the enjoyment of means, and 
cast ourselves upon Him that made even the Spaniards, 
yea the whole universe itself. St. Martin's is taken by 
the Spaniard that would engross the whole world to 
himself, and the rest of tha Islands that are inhabited in 
these parts by our English are threatened, and who 
knows how soon our turn may be if God divert not. . . . 
I am sorry that this island hath not better answered their 
honour's expense and expectation. The Lord in mercy 
crown their honour's noble undertakings in these parts 
with a glorious success that the Gqspel may be planted 
on the Main. What glory thereby would accrue to God 1 
How would it eternise their honour's names to posterity 
and how would the children yet unborn bless their hon- 
ours 1" Even while Sherrard wrote, the blow was pre- 
paring, but before Providence suffered. Association was 
attacked and its colonists scattered. 

The great island of Hispaniola had been the first por- 
tion of the Indies settled by the Spaniards and had in 

7 Brit. Mu8.y Eg.y 2646, f o. 58, Hope Sherrard to Sir T. B., Providence, 
6 Jan. 16394. 


the earlier years of their domination been the seat of the 
principal government in the Indies. Owing to the diffi- 
culty the earliest invaders had found in subduing the 
Indians of the northern shore of the island, the principal 
Spanish settlement was founded at San Domingo in the 
southeastern comer of the island, and in the great 
savannas surrounding the city almost all of the Spanish 
population of Hispaniola was gathered. The native 
inhabitants of the island had been exterminated very 
early, and the wide forests covering its northern shore 
were in the early part of the seventeenth century 
inhabited only by a few bands of Cimarones or negroes 
escaped from the Spanish plantations. No means of 
communication existed through these dense tracts, and 
the northern shore was therefore entirely removed from 
Spanish influence ; for this reason it was a favourite base 
for rovers,* English, French, and Dutch, who were 
accustomed to refit and obtain fresh victuals in its num- 
erous harbours. No permanent settlements existed, but 
each nationality among the rovers had its usual gather- 
ing place. The Dutch mainly congregated at San Nico- 
las, the abandoned site of Spain's earliest settlement in 
the island, and there they carried on a considerable 
industry of salt-making and of curing the flesh of the 
cattle they killed in the forests; the French usually 
landed at the island now called La Gonaive, but then 
known to the Spaniards as El Caimito, and at a harbour 
on the main island of Hispaniola known as Gonaives.* 
The only settlement that up to 1635 had acquired any- 
thing of a permanent character, was that formed by 
Anthony Hilton round the harbour of the island of Tor- 
tuga that we know from the Providence records as Asso- 

sAn English pirate had been captured bj the Spaniards at Tortoga in 
1611. Brown, I, 522. 

» Hakluyt, VII, 160, Brit. Mub., Add. MSB., 13977, fo. 609. 



elation. The depredations committed on the shores of 
Cuba, San Domingo, and Porto Rico by the rovers who 
gathered in Tortuga harbour were so frequent and so 
destructive that the Audiencia of San Domingo had 
resolved in 1633 that Tortuga must be one of the first 
pirate strongholds to be cleared at any cost." 

From the report to the Providence Company of a 
Dutch shipmaster, Richard Evertsen, who called at 
Association late in 1634, we learn that the settlement then 
had one hundred and fifty regular inhabitants, but there 
was such a large admixture of Frenchmen among these 
that the Spaniards took it for a French settlement. A 
fort furnished with the artillery supplied by the Provi- 
dence Company was supposed to guard the harbour, but 
no proper watches were kept and no military discipline 
existed. The governor, elected by the planters after 
Hilton *s death in 1634, was Christopher Wormeley, one 
of the original adventurers, but he had little control over 
the settlers and devoted his attention to making what 
profit he could out of incoming rovers. The Spanish 
expedition" for the surprise of the island was got ready 
at San Domingo during November and December, 1634, 
and consisted of a force of two hundred and fifty soldiers 
under the command of Don Ruiz Fernandez de Fuem- 

10 There is no doubt that the Proyidenee Ckimpanj were quite deceived aU 
through as to what was happening in Association. We cannot saj whether 
Hilton ever had anj intention of acting honestly and attempting to found 
a legitimate colonj, but bj 1634 his settlement was, without doubt, what the 
Spaniards called it, merely a pirate hold. 

11 The full Spanish account of the capture of Tortuga, sent to the C!ouncil 
of the Indies on 12 June, 1635, is now to be found in Brit. Mus., Add. MSS., 
13977, fo. 506. Du Tertre says something of the capture from the French 
side (I, 169 sqq.); he dates it however bj error in 1638. Labat and 
Charlevoix, and' others copj Du Tertre, while Esquemeling in his Hiatory 
of the Buccaneers with his usual untrustworthiness confuses names and 
dates badly. In one place he dates the capture in 1630, and in another in 
1664 when D'Ogeron was governor. 


ayor. The force was embarked in small frigates and 
in the month of January, 1635, the attack was delivered 
without warning. According to the Spanish account 
some six hundred men, women, and children had been 
found present in the settlement and in the ships in the 
harbour, but hardly a blow was struck in defence of 
their homes and the ordnance in the fort was found dis- 
mounted and unusable. Gov. Wormeley displayed the 
most utter cowardice and took instant flight in a small 
bark for Virginia;" a few of the colonists succeeded in 
getting away in an English ship, the William and Anne, 
that had just finished loading braziletta wood in the 
harbour, and among them was Mrs. Filby, the widow of 
Samuel Filby, who had died of fever in the previous 
summer. The William and Anne, grievously over- 
crowded, just managed to escape and was compelled to 
land a part of her passengers at Gratiosa in the Azores ; 
ill-luck continued to dog her, for she reached Europe 
only to fall a wreck on the shore of Belle Isle-en-Mer 
(March, 1635). The first colonists who were captured 
by the Spaniards were ruthlessly put to the sword, while 
of those who fled to the woods, most were compelled by 
hunger to deliver themselves prisoners within a few days. 
No more mercy was shown to them than to their fellows 
and Fuemayor hanged every man. The settlement was 
entirely razed to the ground and, after remaining about 
a month, the Spanish force sailed away, leaving Asso- 
ciation a desert. 

The turn of Providence came next, but the governor of 
Cartagena, Don Nicolas de Judice, was not so forward 

IS Wormelej became a somewhat important personage in Virginia. From 
Ada of Privy Council, Colonial, 1, p. 263, we learn that in 1639 he was 
being accused bj Mrs. Hart, the widow of the Providence Company's 
husband, John Hart, of repudiation of his just debts. He became captain 
of the fort at Point Comfort and married Frances Armistead, Mackenzie, 
Colonial Families, p. 12. 




nor so secret with his preparations as had been his 
coUeagae at San Domingo. Providence lies on the flank 
of the course of Spanish ships sailing from Cartagena 
and Porto Bello to Mexico and Havana, but these vessels 
sailed mainly in strong fleets, and the small pinnaces 
from Providence left them as a rule severely alone; an 
easier prey passed close by the island, and to explain 
why Providence was such a convenient base for pirates 
it is necessary here to recapitulate one or two well-known 
facts concerning West Indian trade in the early seven- 
teenth century. Two fleets convoyed by warships sailed 
annually from Seville to the Indies, the **flota*' steering 
for Vera Cruz in Mexico and the ** armada'* for Carta- 
gena. The European goods brought out by this latter 
fleet were exchanged for indigo, cochineal, hides, and 
other valuable commodities at the great fair of Carta- 
gena, where they had been collected from all parts of 
Tierra Firme, or, as the English called it, the **Main.'' 
Besides the commodities reaching Cartagena from the 
provinces of New Biscay on the southern shore of the 
Caribbean, goods came mainly from the districts in the 
kingdom of Guatemala and from the province of Yuca- 
tan. The produce of the rich plain of Nicaragua was 
collected at Granada on Lake Nicaragua and despatched 
in small frigates down the Desaguadero, or as we now call 
it, the San Juan River;" the produce from the region 
round Guatemala City was sent over the mountains to 
be shipped in the Golfo Dolce," and that from Honduras 
was shipped at Truxillo and Puerto Caballos. The prov- 

isDe Laet, Novus Orbi$, p. 263: "Juan k 30 lienee de la Mer da Nord, 
BUT 1 'embouchure du lac de Nicaragua, par laquelle le long d'un long et 
6troit canal k la fa^n d'une riyi^re, il decharge see eaux dans la mer; 
eUe eet nommte El desaguadero des Espagnols qui transportent les mar- 
chandises de 1 'Europe, qu'ils ont 6t6 querir k Porto Bello, le long de ce 
canal k cette ville et lieux voisins. ' ' 

i« Gage, The English American, London 1677, p. 287. 


ince of Veraguas yielded little of value, but what com- 
modities did come from Costa Rica were mainly ex- 
changed for European goods at the second great fair 
of the year, held later on at Porto Bello. The small ves- 
sels in which goods were carried to Cartagena were too 
frail to voyage out into the open Caribbean and kept 
well in towards the coast until they got into the latitude 
of their destination, when they steered due east across 
the bight at the head of which Porto Bello stood. None 
of the frigates were armed to any extent or capable of 
great resistance ; all of them had to pass close under the 
shores of Providence and could be readily attacked in 
small pinnaces or even in shallops, with the prospect of 
a considerable booty. The temptations thus displayed 
were too strong for an old rover like Elfrith, and from 
the very beginning some of the colonists engaged in 
piracy. An easy market for the plunder could be 
obtained with the Holland ships that frequently touched 
at the island and it is to the facilities thus afforded for 
obtaining European goods at a cheap rate that we must 
attribute the colonists' disinclination to pay the high 
prices demanded for the goods in the company's maga- 

The shrewder men in the island saw the risk they 
must necessarily be running into by this piracy, when 
even the mere presence of foreigners in an island in the 
very heart of the Indies must be repugnant to every 
Spaniard. The governor and council insisted therefore 
on renewed energy being applied to the work of forti- 
fication, and on the taking of stringent precautions 
against the admission of any Spaniards or Spanish 
negroes into the island. The moment the company in 
England learned of the capture of Association, they sent 
warning of his danger to Gov. Bell. But the Expectation, 
by which the message was despatched, early in 1635, did 



not get away from her first port of call at St. Christopher 
before July, and at that time the warning had been long 
anticipated. Providence learned of the surprise of Asso- 
ciation from some of the fugitives very soon after the 
eventy and, needless to say, the whole island was set in 
alarm. Redoubled energy soon put the fortifications in 
good order and a constant watch was set for suspicious 
shipsy while Samuel Axe, one of the company's best 
soldiers, on hearing of the likelihood of attack, left the 
new plantation he was engaged in developing at the 
Cape and returned to aid in the island 's defence. 

On the second of July, 1635, the Spanish fleet was 
espied approaching the island from the southeast and 
constantly sounding as it came among the encircling 
shoals. The force, which was under the personal com- 
mand of the governor of Cartagena, Don Nicolas de 
Judice, consisted of three ships, four shallops, and one 
boat, and carried a force of about three hundred soldiers. 
For five days the vessels were feeling their way through 
the rocks and shoals only at the end of that time to come 
under the fire of the heavy ordnance in Warwick Fort. 
Again and again the soldiers attempted to force their way 
in to the shore in order to land, but again and again they 
were driven back by fierce musketry fire from the small 
earthworks thrown up on the beach, and at the last were 
compelled to retreat in disorder to their ships. A flag of 
truce covered a message from the Spanish commander to 
Gov. Bell, summoning the colonists at once to depart on 
pain of the penalties attaching to piracy and announcing 
that further reinforcements were on the way from Carta- 
gena and that the island's defenders would be over- 
whelmed by force of numbers. But coming from one who 
had already been repulsed, these threats were of little 
avail, the English were quite undismayed and, a defiant 
answer having been returned, the battle was renewed 


more fiercely than before. So battered at length were 
the Spanish ships by the shot from the forts and so many 
men had they lost in their futile attempts at landing, that 
finally, seven days after their arrival, the Spanish vessels 
slipped their cables and anchors and retreated under 
cover of night, in haste and disorder. The attack had 
been repulsed and, for the time being. Providence was 

It was not until the return of the Expectation to Eng- 
land in December, 1635, that the company learned of 
the Spaniards' attempt on Providence and its gallant 
repulse, but the news lost nothing of its importance by 
the delay. We have shown how the course of affairs had 
been leading the company to the conclusion that perhaps, 
after aU, Providence was not destined to be the great 
refuge for the oppressed Puritans that they had hoped to 
found, and the capture of Association and the narrow 
escape of their whole enterprise from overthrow were 
sufficient to confirm the view that Providence could never 
succeed as a mere plantation, but must be developed into 
a fortress capable of withstanding a powerful attack and, 
in reprisal, a base whence a profitable privateering war- 
fare might be waged against the wealth of Spanish 
America. As has been shown in earlier chapters, this 
had been one of the aims that had led to the founding 
of the colony, but from 1635 onward it comes more 
prominently to the front, and the idea of Providence as 
a home for Puritans falls into the background. 

The Elizabethan tradition of hatred to Spain as the 
common enemy still lived in the minds of Englishmen, 
but nowhere was it a more vital and energising force 
than with Warwick and his associates. No one had 
thrown himself more whole-heartedly into the schemes of 
the Providence Company than had John Pym and to no 
one did he yield in detesting the Spanish claims to world- 


wide power ; in joining the company he had been prima- 
rily moved by his Puritanism and by his sympathy with 
John White's scheme for founding a refuge for the 
oppressed, but he had grown to manhood under the influ- 
ence of men who had shared in the anxieties of the 
Elizabethan struggle, and who, under King James, 
believed that England had turned from her true path 
in foreign policy to dally with the power that was cease- 
lessly plotting her overthrow. For us, who know that 
with Philip II the Spanish power had sunk, never to 
rise again, it is hard to realise the intensity of fear and 
of hatred with which the Englishmen of that generation 
regarded their ancient enemy. The only right foreign 
policy seemed to them to lie in carrying on the traditions 
under which England had grown to greatness ; and they 
wished to continue to share with the Dutch in the inex- 
haustible booty of the Indies, that, as they thought, had 
raised Holland and Zeeland from poverty to wealth. 
The zest with which the parliament of 1624 had turned 
from the humiliations of the Spanish Match to urge on 
the longed-for war, and the eagerness with which that 
of 1625 had granted supplies for the Cadiz expedition, 
show plainly the potency of these views, but it would 
be hard to express them more clearly than did Pym 
himself, when his voice could once more be raised within 
the walls of parliament :" 

**The differences and discontents betwixt his Majesty 
and the people at home have, in all likelihood, diverted 
his royal thoughts and counsels from those great oppor- 
tunities which he might have not only to weaken the 
House of Austria and to restore the Palatinate, but to 
gain himself a higher pitch of power and greatness than 
any of his ancestors. For it is not unknown how weak, 

15 Speech to the Short Parliament, April, 1640, Forster, lAfe of Pym, p. 


how distracted, how discontented the Spanish colonies 
are in the West Indies. There are now in those parts, 
in New England, Virginia and the Carib Islands and 
in the Barmndos, at least 60,000 able persons of this 
nation, many of them well-armed and their bodies sea- 
soned to that climate, which, with a very small charge 
might be set down in some advantageous parts of those 
pleasant, rich and fruitful countries and easily make his 
Majesty master of all that treasure, which not only 
foments the war but is the great support of popery in all 
parts of Christendom/' 

Holding such views it was easy for Pym to convince 
himself that the Providence enterprise was worth carry- 
ing on, even though it should have to be through the 
ligency of men who did not see eye to eye with him in 
matters of religion. It is this power of realising that it 
might be possible to secure worthy ends, though the tools 
employed might not conform to the most rigid standard 
of orthodoxy, that distinguishes the leaders of the Eng- 
lish Puritans, and especially Pym, from the unbending 
rulers of New England, such as Endecott and Dudley. 
Pym was essentially an opportunist in the best sense of 
the term; while an idea seemed to him possible of ful- 
filment, all his energies were devoted to carrying it out, 
but if circumstances proved too strong for him and the 
idea had to be abandoned, he was always ready to modify 
his course and, with no abandonment of principle, to 
work with the means at hand for the fruition of some 
cognate purpose. Providence was no home for a strictly 
Puritan community, but it had great possibilities for 
the furtherance of English aggrandisement at the ex- 
pense of Spain. The Dutch were carving out for them- 
selves an empire in Brazil. Why should not England, 
from Providence as a base, carve out for herself another 
dominion in Central America and found a second Brazil 


upon the shores of New Spain? In so doing she would 
be crippling still further the enemy of God and man, and 
advancing her own resources at his expense. The words 
of a writer of the time concerning the Dutch are just as 
true when applied to Pym and Warwick and their part- 
ners; they ** hated Spain and the Pope with a perfect 
hatred and firmly believed that in plundering the Span- 
iard they were best serving not merely their own interests 
but the cause of God and the true religion. ' **• From 1635 
onwards, therefore, this was to be the object of the Provi- 
dence Company, and the putting aside of the earlier 
object without its abandonment can be no better summed 
up than in the words Pym addressed to the adventurers : 
** Although we cannot procure so many religious persons 
as we desire, yet, when the place [Providence] is safe, 
godly persons and families will be encouraged to trans- 
port themselves ; and though God succour not our endeav- 
ours in that, yet we may make a civil commodity of it, 
upholding the profession of religion, moral duty, and 
justice, till God shall please to plant amongst us a more 
settled Church. . . . The planters must be heartened for 
the defence of the island, lest otherwise his Majesty do 
lose a place apt to be made of much advantage and use to 
this kingdom as any we know of the like bigness in the 
world. The strengthening thereof we must most spe- 
cially regard (though in itself it never answer profit), 
for the better maintaining our trade upon the Main, it 
being so convenient for a storehouse of provision and so 
fit to receive and keep the goods, which shall by negotia- 
tion be procured, and for a retreat upon all occasions. '* 
Such words as these from their trusted treasurer were 
sufficient to clinch the determination of the active mem- 
bers of the company to carry on their work despite their 

i^BarliBUB, BrasUianische Geschichie, p. 34, quoted bj Edmundson in 
Bng. H%8i, Bev., 1896, p. 233. 


many difficulties. They felt, however, that the task had 
become so dangerous and so much a matter of national 
concern that the government should be appealed to for 
help in carrying it on, and they took steps to lay their 
petition before the king without delay. 

On learning of the capture of Association, the com- 
pany had resolved that it would be necessary for them 
to free themselves from charges of remissness and 
negligence in their care of the island, and a memorandum 
was drawn up for presentation to Charles through the 
Earl of Holland, the governor of the company. In this 
memorandum it was shown that Association was never 
planted by the Providence Company of their own motion, 
but that in return for a promise by the planters there to 
pay one-twentieth of their profits, the company had 
agreed to supply them with ordnance and recruits. This 
was done in order to prevent the planters placing them- 
selves under the protection of the Dutch, but it was 
pointed out that Association was always ^ ^ a mixed plan- 
tation consisting of English, Dutch, and French, whereby 
the Spaniard was moved the rather to watch an oppor- 
tunity for their displanting. This mixture was admitted 
by the planters without the company's direction or 
knowledge. ' ' While the governor appointed by the com- 
pany was alive, the island was kept safe, but when he 
died, the planters themselves elected a governor who 
was neglectful of his watch and by his incompetence and 
cowardice left the island defenceless, and for this the 
company could not legitimately be held responsible. 

The presentation of this memorandum was an entirely 
informal matter and no official notice seems to have been 
taken of it, but the receipt of the news of the attack 
upon Providence was much more seriously regarded, and 
a declaration concerning it, together with a demand for 
redress, were forthwith drawn up and presented without 


an instant's delay to the governor of the company for 
deUvery to the crown. The declaration, which is written 
in the hand of Secretary Jessop, is still extant among the 
State Papers,^^ and was presented by the Earl of Hol- 
land to the king at the council board at Whitehall on 
Sunday, the 27th of December, 1635. After recounting 
the circumstances of the Spanish attack and its repulse, 
the declaration proceeds: **Upon this occasion it be- 
hoves us to put your Lordship in mind (being our Gov- 
ernor) of the extraordinary importance of the place, able 
to give his Majesty a great power in the West Indian 
Seas and a profitable interest in the trade of the richest 
part of America. So strong by nature as it is hardly 
accessible, having a large harbour with a very narrow 
entrance, where may ride 100 ships of good burthen 
under the safeguard of such forts as we have already 
built; being distant 40 leagues from the next continent 
and no sign at all that any man had ever set foot there 
until we took possession of it for the Crown of England. 
Upon this island (as y''. Lop. knows) we have bestowed 
Thirty Thousand Pounds above what has been returned 
from thence, although his Majesty has received £1000 in 
one year for Custom. 

* * The discouragements we daily meet with both of loss 
and danger, do 'disable us to proceed in any further 
charge unless his Majesty will be graciously pleased to 
give us leave to right ourselves of this [that is, the 
attack] and former injuries done by the Spaniards ; for 
y'. LoP may remember that we had divers men slain and 
goods spoiled the last year,^* and about four years since 
a ship of ours^* was attempted by the Spaniards, in which 
fight our Captain lost one of his eyes and 10 or 12 men 

IT Ck)L Pap., vin, 81. 

IS At Aflsociation, January, 163%. 

10 The Seaflower, see p. 112. 


were slain and hurt without any provocation at any time 
on our part, we having always given strict order that 
none of our men should offer the least distaste unto the 

**We do make the more speed to give y"* Lop notice 
hereof because the Spanish commanders which thus sum- 
moned and assaulted the island, did publish an intention 
of their King to send greater forces to destroy that and 
other English plantations. 

** Whereupon the inhabitants of the Island have written 
unto us that they must desert the place, if they be not 
relieved by May next, which cannot be effected unless we 
go presently in hand with provisions. 

'*A11 which we leave to y' Lop'^ consideration, that 
some sudden resolution may be taken to encourage other 
Adventurers to join with us, and so hearten the Planters 
for defence of the island, lest otherwise his Majesty lose 
a place apt to be made of much advantage and use to this 
kingdom as any we know of the like bigness in the world, 
and y' Lop with ourselves sustain a great prejudice in 
the loss of all the adventures which were first undertaken 
in the time of war betwixt his Majesty and the King of 
Spain, when we conceived that this design would [give] 
his Majesty's subjects opportunity of repairing all the 
losses sustained by the Dunkirkers or any other then in 
opposition to the Crown. ' "® 

From Nicholas 's notes of the proceedings in Council,*^ 
we learn that the king referred the matter to the Council 
board to inform themselves of the importance of Provi- 
dence and to consider whether it would be better to send 
venturers to hold the island or to give leave to the adven- 
turers to offend the Spaniards there by way of reprisal. 

20 [Endorsed] ''Presented Sondaj, 27th Dec. to the King in Ck)ancil hj 
the Earl of Holland. ' ' 

21 8. P. Dom., Car. I, cccvii, no. 19. 27 Dec., 1635. 


The secretaries were directed to see how far it lay with 
the Anglo-Spanish treaty of 1630 to suffer his Majesty's 
ships to defend themselves and to offend any if they be 
offended, being beyond the line. The investigation of the 
matter was entrusted to the secretary of state. Sir John 
Coke, and the original draft of his conclusions in his own 
handwriting is now preserved among the State Papers.** 
The memorial is of great interest in our enquiry as giv- 
ing an unbiased survey of the company's affairs, but it 
is too long to be produced in extenso and we must confine 
ourselves to a few extracts from it. It begins with an 
account of the strategical position of the island : 

* * The island called St. CatheUna by the Spaniards and 
by our men the Island of Providence, is situated within 
the tropic, betwixt 12 and 13 degrees of the northerly 
latitude from the Equinoctial. It lieth in the high way 
of the Spanish fleets that come from Cartagena, from 
which it lieth about 100 leagues and from Porto Bello 80 
leagues and about 80 leagues also from the Bay of Nico- 
raga,^' at which place of the terra firma the Spaniards 
have great trade for their treasure, and all ships that 
come from these places must pass on the one or other 
side of the island within 20 leagues and may be easily 
discovered from thence. From Virginia it is distant 
about 1900 leagues, though in their course homewards 
they come near it. . . . [The island] will yield provision 
suflScient for 1000 men besides women and children. Now 
there are of white persons about 500, women about 30 or 
40. . . . For strength the access is very difficult and a 
ship cannot get in without much danger of rocks and 
shoals. On nine parts of ten the island is compassed with 
rock whereof most are seen and others under water. 
Betwixt the rocks above and those under water there is 

ss Ck)l. Pap., VllI, 83. Many erafraree and much altered hj Coke in parts. 
38 That IB, the Nicaragua or San Juan Biver. 


a channel so narrow that but one ship at once can well 
pass through it. They come in with a trade wind^ which 
bloweth always except in part of October, in November 
and part of December, in all two months, when northerly 
winds blow, which are very boisterous. No ships can 
lie long about the island, nor ride at anchor safely, save 
only at about 3 or 4 miles from the Island and that but 
in fair weather and then they are also subject to fretting 
their cables with the rocks, and if any storm they are in 
great danger. The Island hath but one harbour on thje 
[north] side, which will contain 3 or 4 score sail of ships 
of 300 tons, for greater ships cannot get in without much 
care, because they will want breadth to turn in and must 
come in sounding all the way. They ride within at 20 
or 24 foot water, very good and safe ground and free 
from all danger of winds, being enclosed by a promon- 
tory that keepeth it very safe. The harbour is defended 
with 3 forts, one at the entrance and one on either side. 
In the whole island they have 13 or 14 fortified places, 
which have ordnance, and no ship or boat can approach 
but within the command of two or three of their 
forts. . . . 

**The enemy cannot land otherwise than by shallops 
and therefore there should be boats to hinder their 
landing. The Spaniards also send treasure in shallops, 
which they can freight at places along the coast and by 
these shallops may be met with much advantage. . . . 
Spanish frigates, as they call them, are no better than 
shallops. Many are very rich. . . . Other benefit from 
the Island is not to be expected but what may be gotten 
by trade or prizes. The trade is not yet settled. . . . 
The planters are discouraged because many of their 
Adventurers are fallen off, more than half the last year 
[1635]. They were whole shares 18 and in all contribu- 
tors in quarter shares to make 24. . . . The charge aris- 


eth in sending men, for every man they have severally 
costeth them near Thirty Pounds; . . . £8000 a year 
will not suflSce to supply it. . . . This charge cannot be 
raised otherwise than by war or reprisal. . . . 

''The planters find not themselves able to maintain so 
great a charge, but may be able with the king's leave to 
put it off to some others to save themselves and to afford 
his Majesty Ten Thousand Pounds profit, whereas if it 
be taken out of their hands by force, they know they 
shall lose and can expect nothing save cruelty, as the 
Spaniards use to all nations that come there. ... If his 
Majesty should undertake it, they expect to be reim- 
bursed with reasonable profit. . . . The planters desire 
his Majesty's speedy resolution because they must before 
the spring desert it or supply it : which will be hard to 

This memorial was taken into consideration by the 
king during the month of January, 1636, and he also 
viewed ' ' the plat of the Island and Main adjacent, ' ' that 
had been prepared by Capt. Axe for the company and 
was forwarded by them, before he could determine 
whether to grant the company the desired assistance. 

The ever-changing conditions governing Charles I's 
tortuous foreign policy were at the moment of presenta- 
tion of the company's petition not unfavourable to the 
granting of the required permission to undertake re- 
prisals. The years 1634 and 1635 had been filled with 
negotiations with Spain wherein Charles was prepared 
to offer the alliance of England against the Dutch if the 
Palatinate were evacuated; in August, 1635, a definite 
alliance against France had also been offered on the same 
conditions, but, when Spain showed no alacrity to close 
with the offer, the contrary course was considered and in 
November the king was prepared to listen to Queen 
Henrietta Maria and her adviser, the Earl of Holland, 


who were urging upon him hostility to Spain and an 
intimate alliance with France." The never-ending battle 
in the Council went on from day to day between the pro- 
Spanish party, now represented by Cottington and 
Windebank, and their opponents, represented by Holland 
and Coke, who for the moment, in January, 1636, gained 
the upper hand. The fact that the leaders of the Provi- 
dence Company, Warwick, Saye, and Brooke, were 
actively opposed to many points in the government's 
home policy, and that steps had recently been taken to 
frustrate their intention of emigrating to New England, 
would not miUtate against the granting of permission to 
engage themselves more deeply in the West Indies, for 
such action would entirely fall in with the government's 
forward naval poUcy. Only six months before the king 
had prompted the republication of Selden's Mare 
Clausum,^^ claiming for England the most exacting rights 
over the Narrow Seas, and the Ship-Money fleet was at 
this very time being equipped to enforce these rights. 
All things combined, therefore, to secure from the king 
the desired permission to undertake reprisals, and in 
January, 1636, this was granted. 

The procedure in the matter of granting letters of 
reprisal does not appear to have been a fixed one, but 
in this particular instance no formal letters or com- 
missions were issued. The only written record is the 
report of a Privy Council meeting antedated to coin- 
cide with the date when the company made formal com- 
plaint to the governor." As a matter of fact, we learn 
from the company's records^^ that the king gave the 

34 For the whole of these bewildering changes of front, see Gardiner, 
VIII, 99, and authorities cited bj him. 
25 August, 1635, Gardiner, VIII, 154. 
«« Col. Pap., VIII, 90. 
37 See also Col. Pap., X, 39. 


desired permission only by word of mouth at the council 
board, but in the presence of Sir Henry Martin, judge of 
the Admiralty. It would seem that Martin had been 
specially summoned to hear the permission granted, but 
the whole proceeding is a commentary on the lax and 
shifty governmental methods of the time. It is to be 
wondered whether any of those who received the desired 
permission thought of Raleigh and his fate twenty years 
before for acting on a similarly loosely granted permis- 
sion to wage private war, wluch was disavowed when 
he failed to succeed. 



On January 29, 1636, a full meeting of the company 
was summoned to Lord Saye's lodgings in Holbom under 
the chairmanship of Sir Nathaniel Rich, then deputy-gov- 
ernor, and Treasurer Pym there laid before them a full 
report of the story of the colony as received by the 
Expectation, and an account of what had been done by 
himself and the committee left in charge of the com- 
pany's affairs since the last general meeting. To the 
declaration concerning the attack on the island, it was 
announced that the king had graciously replied, giving 
the company permission to right themselves by way of 
reprisal, so that whatever they should take from the 
Spaniard in the West Indies would be adjudged lawful 
prize. It was now necessary, therefore, for the company 
to take steps to provide an immediate supply for the 
planters, for their reputation required them to keep on 
as long as their estates would bear it. The state had a 
right to expect of them that they proceed with a work in 
which the honour of the English empire was so much 
bound up, or else to put it off to others that would not 
let it fall. Unfortunately, Pym told them, many of the 
company living far off found the burden too great and 
desired not to go on, and it was requisite, therefore, for 
those that were earnest in the matter to make all the 
greater efforts. The proportion of charge required to 
pay off debts accumulated in the past and to carry on the 
work for the future he computed at £10,000, and he 
desired the company to resolve at once upon means for 
raising this sum. 


The discussion thus initiated was carried on with 
great vigour and all kinds of ways were proposed for 
managing the company's affairs more successfully than 
in the past. It was suggested that everything should be 
put in charge of one man and Pym was mentioned as the 
best qualified to undertake the charge; his practical 
spirit, however, refused to allow him to place himself 
in so invidious a position and he insisted most strongly 
that everyone subscribing to the new stock should have 
a vote in the carrying-on of the business. Lord Brooke 
was not so backward and offered to undertake the whole 
affair of the colony if he might have the sole manage- 
ment and not be bound to commit his designs to any. 
So sweeping a relinquishment of control did not com- 
mend itself to the adventurers and Lord Brooke's offer 
was declined. It was finally resolved that an entirely 
new stock of £10,000 to carry on the business should be 
raised within two years ; for nine years all profits from 
the trade of the Main, from the islands or from reprisals, 
were to be paid to the new undertakers, the old adven- 
turers having no share of the profits till after the com- 
pletion of nine years. All those joining in the adven- 
ture were to have a share in the management 
proportional to the amount of their adventure, and Lord 
Brooke undertook to underwrite any portion of the 
£10,000 stock not taken up, in return for a corresponding 
voice in the direction. The whole share of adventure 
was put at £500, for which one vote was allotted. Those 
subscribing for portions of a £500 share were to decide 
its vote by a majority. As a result the sum of £3900 was 
subscribed^ by the middle of 1636, and to this Brooke 
added £1000, though he could not be persuaded to fulfil 

1 Warwick £500, Saje £500, N. Bich £500, Pym £500, Woodcock £500, 
Barrington £500, Knightlej £400, Badjerd £250, Sir William Waller and 
Thomas Upton £250 jointly. 


his promise to subscribe the remaining amount up to 
£10,000. Application was made to the lord treasurer to 
assist the company by the abatement of the customs 
duties on goods sent to the island or imported from it, 
and several attempts were made to secure this conces- 
sion, which had been granted by Eang James to the 
Virginia and Newfoundland companies during their 
early years, but no success was obtained, and Pym finally 
moved the company to put up with the best treatment 
they could get from the farmers of the customs, **they 
being so far authorized by the book of rates, without 
addressing themselves therein to His Majesty/* 

This regeneration of the company at home occupied 
the whole of the winter months of 1635-1636, but imme- 
diately upon the receipt of the news of the capture of 
Association in March, 1635, Pym and Rich, the principal 
members of the committee left in charge of the business 
of the company during the summer, had taken steps to 
ensure the reoccupation of the island, and a gathering 
up as far as possible of the company's property there. 
Several names were discussed as those of persons likely 
to make satisfactory governors of the island and among 
them that of John Hilton,^ the younger brother of 
Anthony Hilton, who had remained planting in Nevis. 
As none of these persons seemed entirely suitable. Sir 
Nathaniel Rich suggested that a council should be 
appointed to govern the island with a president to be 
elected by themselves, but it was finally decided that 
Capt. Nicholas Reskeimer* should be made governor, and 
that he should be supplied with fresh ordnance and stores 
suflScient to defend Association satisfactorily. The Res- 

2 The author of the account of the planting of St. Ghriatopher and Nevis, 
who was then quite a joung man. 

> Or Biskinner. He had been employed in command of one of the mer- 
chant ships in the Cadiz expedition, C, 8, P. Dom,, 1625-1626, p. 142. See 
also C. 8, P, Dom., 1619-1623, p. 557. 


keimers were a family of Flemish origin, long settled at 
Dartmouth and deeply engaged in the clandestine West 
Indian trade; they were intimately allied with the cele- 
brated privateering family of the Killigrews, and Bes- 
keimer was probably acceptable to the company as hav- 
ing a large acquaintance among the rovers, who, they 
now realised, made Tortuga a regular place of calL He 
was recommended to the colonists as a soldier and a 
gentleman, whose military experience would serve them 
in repelling any further Spanish attack.^ Mrs. Filby 
and the other fugitives who had reached England, were 
supplied with certain stores and again sent out to the 
island under Beskeimer's conmiand in the Expectation, 
April, 1635. The carrying-on of the plantation was thus 
provided for, but it was also necessary to do something 
to secure the £2000 owing from Hilton's estate. 

From the testimony of the fugitive planters it was evi- 
dent that Hilton had been defrauding the company right 
and left; he had pocketed all the money paid by the 
planters for goods from the company's stores and had 
been consigning brazilwood wholesale to one Ashman, a 
merchant of the Dutch West India Company, at Middle- 
burg. Over two hundred tons of wood, the worth of 
which must have been nearly £5000, had been despatched 
by Hilton during 1634, and the William and Anne, which 
had escaped from the harbour of Association during 
the Spanish attack,, had over seventy tons on board. The 
wreck of the William and Anne at Belle Isle had placed 
this valuable cargo in the charge of the French govern- 
ment and the company had to institute suits in the French 
courts for its recovery and in the Zeeland courts for the 
recovery of damages from Ashman. The French suit 

^Beskeimer was proyided with 30 muskets, 10 pistols, 2 pieces of ord- 
nance, 33 barrels of powder, shot and match, 30 swords, a drum and flag, 
a large supply of tools, and £20 cash for himself. 


was successful and the company in conjunction with the 
insurers of the cargo managed to recover the greater 
portion of the goods, but no redress could be obtained 
at Middleburg and the suit had to be abandoned. Hil- 
ton's estate in England was sequestered by Dr. Band for 
the benefit of his wife and f amily, but the company man- 
aged to seize all his negroes, who had escaped to the 
mountains in Tortuga, and these along with some women 
negroes' were sent over to Providence. 

Beskeimer 's appointment and the small reinforcement 
of the colony sent out with him, could only be regarded 
as a temporary means of tiding over a difficulty and it 
was evident that if Association was to be permanently 
occupied further recruits must be sent. As a matter of 
fact, Beskeimer turned out quite unfit to exercise the 
government, and died of fever almost immediately after 
his arrival in the West Indies; the way was therefore 
clear for an arrangement that had been for some time 
contemplated. When Bochelle capitulated on October 
29, 1628, the last Protestant stronghold on the French 
coast was closed to the fleet of Soubise, who since 1625 
had been scouring the western seas and had succeeded 
almost entirely in intercepting French commerce. His 
ships, when their home port was closed, had to take 
refuge in English ports and to disband their crews, who 
were left to fend for themselves as best they could. One 
of the most prominent of Soubise 's captains was De 
Sance, who was well known to a London merchant of 
Huguenot descent, Samuel Vassall, one of Sir Bobert 
Heath's principal backers in the attempted colonisation 
of ' ' Carolana. ' '• A large number of De Sance 's Hugue- 

B This seems to be one of the earliest mentions of women negroes as 
servants in an English colony. From the company's letter we learn that 
they were regarded as a novelty. 

• Sainsbury, preface to C. 8. P. Col, 1574-1660, p. xxiv. 


not followers were despatched by Vassal! to Carolana, 
but they failed to make any satisfactory footing there 
and were dispersed before the end of the year 1632. 
Another partner of Sir Robert Heath in the Carolana 
project was the celebrated William Boswell, who had 
made many acquaintances among the Bochellois during 
his service ^s an English agent in France; in 1635 he 
was a regular attendant for a time at the Providence 
meetings, and now that Association had to be reinforced 
and already had a large number of French settlers, he 
thought it an excellent opportunity to provide for his 
remaining Huguenot proteges. He therefore introduced 
to the company a Captain Delahay, whom he recom- 
mended for the governorship and with whom the company 
entered into treaty. This was a very important step in 
the history of the Tortuga colony, for many of Soubise's 
followers had succeeded in making their peace with 
Richelieu and had been sent out as employes of the royal 
*'Compaguie des Isles d*Amerique** to serve under de 
Roissey and D'Esnambuc in St. Christopher, and it is 
probable that some of them had been among the many 
Frenchmen who had already reached Tortuga. 

The company were urged to come to terms with Dela- 
hay by the news they received from Association in 
March, 1633, by two returning planters, that they had 
been closely questioned by the Dutch West India Com- 
pany, who had expressed an intention of taking posses- 
sion of the island as having been practically abandoned 
by the Providence Company. After Reskeimer's death 
the eighty odd Englishmen in the island had formed a 
council among themselves for the government of the 
colony and to keep in subjection the one hundred and 
fifty negroes, twenty-seven of whom were the company's 
property. Several of the negroes had escaped to the 
woods, but the planters thought that they might be 


brought back into subjection if there were more white 
men in the island. The French were beginning to fre- 
quent Tortuga in ever greater numbers to cut the brazi- 
letta wood and to lade with salt ; they had captured some 
of the negroes and carried them away. These pieces of 
information caused the greatest possible concern to Pym 
and throughout the spring of 1636 we find him suggest- 
ing ways and means of furnishing Association with sup- 
plies and men, although he found it impossible to get the 
company to adopt any of them. All kinds of resolutions 
were come to and afterwards rescinded because the 
adventurers declined to provide more capital. It was 
found that a Mr. Donnington was setting up bills in 
London offering to transport passengers to Association, 
although he had had no permission from the company 
and the speculation was merely a private one on his own 
part. Pym and Saye were so strongly in favour of 
retaining the island as a valuable harbourage for their 
merf-of-war, that they offered to go over themselves to 
carry on the plantation if the company would support 
them, but the rest of the active adventurers were 
opposed to any further deaUngs as a company with the 
island and offered to turn over their rights in it to any 
of their number who would undertake its supply. 

It was finally settled in June, 1636, that the company's 
rights in Association should be vested in Brooke, Pym, 
and Saye, together with their merchant associate. Wood- 
cock, who promised to provide a supply and a hundred 
men at a cost of £1500.^ Delahay had sailed for Tortuga 
while the propositions for its arming were being debated, 
80 the governorship of the island was conferred upon 
Capt. William Rudyerd, who was placed in command of 

T Brooke £750, Pym £500 (£100 of this afterwards Babseribed hj Bad- 
jerd and £100 by Waller), Saye £250. Woodcock paid the coet of the 


the James, which after her arrival was to ply for prizes. 
During Rudyerd^s absence on these voyages, the gov- 
ernorship of the island was to be placed in the charge 
of Capt. Henry Hunks,* who was to go out as Rudyerd's 
second in command. Everything was prepared and the 
James put to sea in August, 1636, but fate seemed to con- 
spire against the undertakers in the matter, for after 
being badly buffeted by storms and never reaching her 
destination, the James returned to England in January, 
1637, in a nearly sinking condition. Intelligence was 
received at about the same time that the English inhabi- 
tants of Association had abandoned their plantations and 
had removed to the main island of Hispaniola. The 
Association design was therefore abandoned and the 
subscribed capital devoted to fitting out a second ship, 
the Mary Hope, to ply for prizes from Providence under 
the command of Capt. Rudyerd. 

The tracing of the fruitless attempts to resettle Tor- 
tuga has led us to anticipate our story somewhat, and 
we must now return to Providence and to the steps taken 
by the company to reorganise the colony as a privateer- 
ing base after the Spanish attack in 1635. Capt. Philip 
Bell had been governor of Providence for five years, 
and Lord Saye and other members of the company felt 
that, as the colony was to be given a fresh start, it would 
be well for a new governor to be appointed. It was 
requisite that the man chosen should be an able soldier, 
and at the same time a godly and religious Puritan; 
such an one was recommended by Lord Brooke from 
among his dependents at Warwick in the person of Capt. 
Robert Hunt, who had seen some service in the Nether- 

s Sir Henry Hunks was a connection of the family of Sir Edward Conway 
and had seen service onder him in the Netherlands. He did not take up 
the Association appointment, but went to Barbadoes as governor for the 
Earl of Carlisle. He was succeeded in 1641 by Philip Bell. 


lands and in Buckingham's expedition to Isle de Bhe. 
The company realised that in superseding Bell they might 
antagonise a party of his supporters in the island led 
by Elfrith and William Rous, and it was resolved, there- 
fore, that the supersession should be carried out in the 
most courteous way possible in return for the mercies 
vouchsafed to the island under BelPs government; as 
all the conditions of the original contracts with Bell 
respecting supply of servants had certainly not been 
fulfilled, the company were quite prepared for **the 
clamours they may expect at his coming home for not 
making good their contracts.'' The private letter 
informing Bell of the appointment of his successor is 
very cool in tone and shows very little appreciation of 
the services he had rendered to the company; he is 
requested to continue cheerfully in his new place of 
councillor, giving assistance to the new governor pub- 
licly and privately. They trust that he will not be * * trans- 
ported by any jealousy" as they intend nothing towards 
him but what may stand with justice and honour; they 
will be much gladder to find him deserving of thanks 
and reward than any way blameworthy. After the 
vicious practice common to all the English colonies of 
the time. Bell's supersession was a signal for all those 
in the island who had been aggrieved by any of his acts 
as governor, to rise up against him and attempt to secure 
satisfaction from him in his private capacity. The dis- 
sensions that previously existed therefore broke out with 
redoubled violence and the company in their letter of 
1637 had to speak very strongly in order to preserve the 
ex-governor from complete ruin. The judgments that 
had been delivered against him for acts done during his 
tenure of the governorship were declared null and void, 
and his goods and negroes that had been confiscated by 
the council were restored to him. He received permis- 


sion to sell off his plantation and goods, and returned 
home in June, 1637. The company were justified in 
their expectation that trouble would arise over the non- 
fulfilment of their contracts with Bell by sending him 
an insufficient number of servants, and the dispute about 
the matter occupied the time of Treasurer Pym very 
much during the latter part of 1637. 

Bell desired the company to compensate him by a 
money payment for the lack of the labours of the ser- 
vants that had been promised to him as salary; he 
alleged that he had received some twenty-five less than 
had been promised and that many of those who were 
sent ran away or proved unfit. He had felled much 
ground to grow provisions for the servants he expected 
and was therefore involved in further loss when they 
did not arrive. In all he claimed £1250 from the com- 
pany, but was willing to write off £400 due from him for 
store-goods, tobacco not paid over, and bills discharged 
for him in England. The company replied that they 
were only bound by their contract to supply men to work 
for him in the island, which, as it would tend to the 
strengthening of Providence, they were ready to do, but 
this answer was obviously disingenuous and it entirely 
failed to satisfy Bell. After six months' discussion no 
progress had been made in the matter, and it was decided 
to refer to arbitration Bell's demands and Pym's excep- 
tions thereto. Bell nominated as his arbitrator his 
brother. Sir Robert Bell, while the company chose John 
Hampden, but refused to sign any undertaking to be 
bound individually by the arbitrators ' award. In conse- 
quence of this and Bell's refusal to be unconditionally 
bound to accept the award, no conclusion could be come 
to by the arbitrators, and in May, 1638, the ex-governor 
petitioned the king, who ordered the lord keeper to give 
attention to the matter and decide it. The company's 



case was placed in the hands of Oliver St. John and in 
the result the lord keeper decided (November, 1638) that 
particular members of the company were not liable for 
agreements made under the common seal of the com- 
pany, but no definite conclusion of the dispute had been 
arrived at two years later and Bell, sick of the delay, 
ultimately in July, 1640, accepted £50 in full settlement 
of his claims. 

The rest of Bell's story is soon told; when he accepted 
the Providence Company's composition, he was contem- 
plating a new voyage to the West Indies, and on Novem- 
ber 29, 1640, he received permission from the Privy 
Council* to transport one hundred and forty passengers 
and stores to commence a plantation on the island of 
Santa Lucia. The plantation does not appear to have 
met with any success and in 1641 Bell moved with 
his followers to Barbadoes, where he became deputy- 
governor on Sir Henry Hunks's sailing for England in 
1642. On Hunks's death in 1645, Bell became governor 
of Barbadoes,^® and there Ligon visited him in 1647." 
On the seizure of the island by the royalist fleet under 
Lord Willoughby of Parham in 1649, Bell, who was 
notoriously parliamentarian in his sympathies, fled to 
St. Christopher and there we hear of him for the last 
time in 1669, when he was one of the commissioners for 
receiving restitution of the island from the French." 

Capt. Robert Hunt was appointed governor of Provi- 
dence by an agreement dated 1 March, 1636, and a 
formal commission of March 28, 1636." The expenses 

• Ads of Privy Council, Col, I, p. 290. 

10 Bryan Edwards, Hiai. of West Indies, I, 325. 

11 Ligon, Hist, of Barhadoes, p. 24. 

IS The Philip Bell of 1669 {A. P. C. Col, I, 506) may have been a nephew. 
See p. 94, note. 

i> Hunt was well known to many in the Poritan party, as we may learn 
from a letter to John Winthrop, jr., from Samuel Beade, his brother-in-law, 



of the transportation of himself, his wife, three children^ 
and two maid-servants, were to be borne by the company, 
who promised in case of his death to do **what should 
become them in honour and conscience for his wife." 
One hundred acres of land were allotted to him for his 
own benefit, together with twenty servants to work it 
for him; no money salary was to be paid, but he was 
to derive all his recompense for his pains from his land 
and servants. In the very full instructions issued to 
him, he was directed to bear himself indifferently between 
all the parties in the island and to endeavour to compose 
the acute differences that had arisen concerning Sher- 
rard's ecclesiastical censures, many having complained 
that they were much aggrieved by them. The general 
letter from the company to the governor and council 
March 28, 1636, to explain the changes that the company 
had resolved to sanction in the island in consequence of 
the permission they had received from the crown to 
undertake reprisals against the Spaniards, is of enormous 
length and fills sixteen closely written foUo pages in the 
letter book. It deals in the greatest minuteness with 
details of all sorts, but contains also some general 
declarations of a change of policy, and these are all that 
we can concern ourselves with. After congratulating 
the planters on their successful repulse of the Spanish 
attack, the company inform them that owing to the dis- 
couragement of many adventurers the burden of the 
enterprise is now cast upon very few shoulders, but they 
have resolved to make a further trial, and keep the 
island for the honour and public good of the English 
nation. A general anmesty for all offences up to the 
day of their deliverance from the Spanish attack is pro- 
claimed, and everyone is exhorted to live in peace and 

London, 5 March, 163%. "Mr. Hunt, I bear, is going into the Isle of 
Providence." Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., 5th series, I, 217. 


quietnesSy love and amity. The permission given by the 
crown to undertake reprisals is confirmed to properly 
commissioned ships, and no man is to take prizes from 
the Spaniards, whether by boat or otherwise, unless 
specially authorised to do so. Indiscriminate attacks 
weaken the island until it is better fortified, and great 
care is to be exercised by the council to see that boats 
are not surreptitiously taken to prey upon the enemy; 
any men attempting to steal away secretly in this fashion 
are to be tried as traitors. To provide further for the 
defence of the island, the company have sent a sergeant 
gunner and three trained soldiers, ''whom the Earl of 
Warwick hath taken from Landgard Fort purposely 
for the service of the island. '* The Spaniards will be 
more inimical to Providence than ever now that they 
have been repulsed, and ceaseless vigilance is to be 
exercised to repel their attacks. The inhabitants are 
to be drilled once or twice a week by the soldiers, so that 
they may know the use of their arms, but the soldiers 
are especially cautioned not to exhibit a proud and over- 
bearing spirit, but to show mildness and justice to those 
under them. 

Trade with Dutch ships is still much disliked by the 
company, because, being only for wine and sack, it has 
tended not to men's health but to the increase of drunk- 
enness, disorder, and poverty. The Dutch ships have 
carried away almost the whole crop of the island, and, 
even when the company's own ship was in the harbour, 
the planters preferred to trade with the Dutch and run 
so much into debt as to mortgage the whole of their 
next crop. Prom henceforth the company will refuse 
to send any goods upon their own account, but they 
permit their husband, William Woodcock, to supply 
goods to the planters upon such conditions as may be 
agreed upon between them and his agents. Past debts 


to the company's stores are forgiven to those who remain 
and strengthen the island, but no permission will be 
given to planters to leave the island until they have dis- 
charged their debts in full. Four months' supply is 
sent with those coming over in the new ships, and by 
the time this is exhausted, they ought to be able to fend 
for themselves. 

Perhaps the most important pronouncement of the 
letter is that in which the company definitely announce 
the abandonment of the system of half profits, which had 
been so much objected to by the planters in this and 
other plantations. The conditions^* are imposed that the 
company shall be freed from all public charges, whether 
for fortification or otherwise, the crops are to be sent 
home by the company's ships and not sold to the Dutch, 
and the letter goes on to say: **That [the planters] 
may be more easily moved to apply themselves to build- 
ing and husbandry for the improving of the land, we 
have resolved that all the same shall be divided into 
several proportions, that every man may know his own, 
and have a certainty of tenure and estate, some part of 
the land for the Governor, Captains and other officers, 
and the rest to be disposed into farms and tenements 
under such, the rent to be paid in tobacco, cotton or 
other staple conunodities, as shall be indifferent." The 
estates shall be allotted in fee simple at a fee ferm rent, 
and time-expired servants shall be put upon plantations 
at this fixed charge. When the island is fully planted, 
they shall be transferred to the main continent and there 
provided for. If the servants prefer it they may remain 
upon the tenant 's plantation and receive from him wages. 
The men of better quality are to have about fifty acres 
of land apiece, which the company think will be enough 

i^The whole of this scheme was worked out bj Pym and was accepted 
at his suggestion. 


to maintain the master and fourteen servants; men of 
lesser rank are to have thirty acres. The reserved rent 
is to be about one-fourth of the commodities produced, 
but the company cannot prescribe a definite rent, as they 
hear that the land differs much in quality. The propor- 
tions allotted are greater than the masters can con- 
veniently manage to manure, but they are arranged so 
that large courts and gardens may be kept round the 
houses. Every planter is to be urged to enclose his 
own ground, and every three months or thereabouts, the 
governor is to inspect the plantations, to suggest 
improvements where necessary, and to note the pro- 
portion of ground planted with com, with tobacco, with 
cotton, and so on. 

In the decision of the company embodied in these direc- 
tions, we have the final abandonment of the system of 
organisation that had been tried in so many colonies, 
from Raleigh's Virginia onwards, though it had never 
met with any measure of success. The organisation of 
Providence was the last collective effort of the men who 
had been responsible for the conduct of Virginia and 
the Somers Islands in their earlier years, and once more, 
as in those colonies, it was shown that, in order to make 
colonists use their best endeavours for the cultivation of 
the soil, it was needful to give them a proprietary inter- 
est in it, and to make their obligations fixed and certain. 
The constant uncertainty as to the amount due to the 
company under the half -profit system, and the eternal 
bickerings that went on concerning the quality and price 
of the goods supplied in the company's magazines, always 
tended to make the system unworkable with the intensely 
individualistic Englishman of the seventeenth century. 
The system may have been a necessary phase of Eng- 
land's colonial development, but it is a striking fact that 
the system was always imposed upon the colonists by an 


external authority, and that in the councils of the Provi- 
dence Company a prominent share was always taken by 
men like Warwick and Sir Nathaniel Rich, who were the 
especial upholders in the early seventeenth century of 
the ideas of colonisation expressed by Gilbert and 
Raleigh at the end of the century before. 

It will be remembered that upon receiving permission 
from the crown to undertake reprisals against the Span- 
iards, a reconstruction of the company had taken place 
and the whole of the enterprise was placed for nine 
years in the hands of the adventurers subscribing for 
the new stock, amounting in all to about £5000. This sum 
was in part expended in supplying Providence with 
ammunition and necessaries, and the rest went to the 
equipment of three vessels, the Blessing, the Expectation, 
and the Hopewell, for a prolonged privateering cruise in 
the Indies from Providence as a base. A treaty was also 
entered into at Pym 's suggestion with Sir Edward Con- 
way, whereby, in return for a fifth part of all prizes 
taken, the company agreed to let him share in their right 
of reprisal with a ship he had previously been intending 
to send into the Indies provided with a commission from 
the Prince of Orange. The Blessing was put under the 
conmiand of William Rous, who was relieved from his 
command of Fort Henry in Providence; John Leicester 
served as master of the Blessing, and Cornelius Billinger 
as master of the Expectation. The Hopewell was owned 
by William Woodcock, the company's husband, and was 
sent out on his account, one-fifth of all prizes taken being 
allotted to the company. 

The directions given to the masters of these ships 
were all of a similar character, and as all subsequent 
regulations of the company concerning prizes were based 
upon them, it is worth while to consider them somewhat 
in detail. The Blessing, a vessel of about two hundred 


tons, was armed, in addition to what she had previously 
carried, with new ordnance at a cost of £182," and her 
ship's company was increased beyond the usual comple- 
ment. The master was directed to acquaint the seamen 
with his designs shortly after leaving the English coast 
and to agree with them as to their proportion of the 
booty. The principle of shares was to be adopted in 
preference to fixed wages, as making the men more ready 
to assault the enemy's ships and as securing the booty 
from embezzlement. The alternative placed before the 
men was the usual one, to be allowed pillage of all above 
deck or else one-third of the total profit obtained from 
the prizes. The Blessing was ordered to sail to Provi- 
dence via Tortuga Salada," where a supply of salt was 
to be obtained, the services of the passengers she was 
taking out being used in the lading. At Providence two 
shallops were to be obtained and these were to be 
manned with twenty men apiece, one to assist the Bless- 
ing and the other the Expectation. No enterprises of 
difficulty were to be undertaken by Rous, but after con- 
sultation with Leicester and Billinger, the will of the 
majority was to prevail. If a prize of poor value were 
taken, it was to be manned with a prize crew and sent 
to Providence, where her goods were to be kept safe; 
a prize of good value was to be brought to England, but 
all prisoners were to be disposed of in such a way as to 
avoid discovery of the ship 's designs ; captured negroes 
were to be conveyed to Providence and there disposed of, 
save those who could dive for pearls, who were to be 
retained as the company's property. The Blessing was 
permitted to consort with any English or Dutch ship, 

IB Two minionB, £25, 4 demi-eulverms, £139-28., 2 drakes, £18. 

i« The island of Tortuga Salada, or Salt Tortuga, noted for its salt pans, 
must be distinguished from the Tortuga off Hispaniola. It lies not far from 
Punta Araya and Margarita off the coast of Venezuela. 


ton for ton and man for man; if any good Spanish pilots 
were taken, well acquainted with the Bay of Nicaragua, 
the Bay of Honduras, or any part of the coast of Terra 
Firma, use might be made of them, but if any came to 
Providence, care was to be taken that their liberty did 
not discover the weakness of the island. 

While they were employed in the first instance for 
prizes, trade was not to be entirely lost sight of by Rous 
and his fellows ; strict enquiry was to be made wherever 
they went, where indigo, cochineal, sarsaparilla, ginger, 
rice, or any other commodities of value might be obtained. 
If gardens were found near the coast, they were to be 
searched for commodities fit to grow in Providence. 
When a suitable length of time had been spent in the 
Indies, the vessels were to steer for home via Bermuda, 
whither they were to carry any freight the governor and 
council of Providence thought suitable. They were to 
leave it in Bermuda in charge of the servants of War- 
wick, Saye, N. Rich, or Pym, who would dispose of it to 
ships trading to New England. If no suitable freight 
could be sent from Providence to England and the ves- 
sels were not filled with prize booty, they were to lade 
with wood at Tortuga or with salt at Hispaniola, and 
this they were to bring to Europe. In case the island of 
Providence was found to have been captured, enquiry 
was to be made at Henrietta Island, at the Moskito Cays, 
and on the Main to find whether any of the inhabitants 
had escaped. If there were no chance of resettling 
Providence, the passengers and the remaining colonists 
were to be transported to the settlement on Cape Gracias 
a Dios and this was henceforward to be made the head- 
quarters of the ships; but if the enemy after its cap- 
ture had wholly relinquished Providence it was to be 

In the course of our pages very little, it will have been 


noticed, has been sai^ concerning the island of Hen- 
rietta or San Andreas, although this was included in the 
original patent of the Providence Company as suitable 
for the company's activities. As a matter of fact, 
although the idea had been broached two or three times, 
no attempt had been made at any permanent settlement 
of the island. San Andreas is a long low island, largely 
of a sandy nature, and its harbour, lying on the west 
side, is very unsafe and exposed to the prevailing winds. 
The island did not lend itself to fortification and the 
company, therefore, did not choose to waste upon it 
the labours and expense that could be more profit- 
ably expended on Providence. San Andreas, however, 
abounded in fine timber and became the scene of a 
quite respectable ship-building industry, and many shal- 
lops were built there under the direction of some Dutch 
shipwrights. The island was also the base for a great 
deal of the surreptitious preying on the smaller Spanish 
vessels that had to be carefully concealed from the gov- 
ernor and council of Providence during the early years 
of the colony's existence. We gather some light upon 
the proceedings of those who sheltered in the island 
from an extract or two from an extant letter of one 
Roger Floud to Sir Nathaniel Rich:" ** Honored Sir — 
My last was by the Elizabeth which set sail home the 24th 
of March with a purpose to leave Mr. Key with Capt. 
Cammock, whose pinnace came here the 7th of April and 
without any stay went to Henrietta to saw boards for a 
shallop, where by an unknown accident she was burned 
and the people brought here by a ship of Flushing hired 
by Governor Hilton to bring Mr. Williams with car- 
riages and wheels and other, munitions. ... If Mr. 
Williams can meet with a frigate and take it, the Dutch 

17 Manch. Pap., no. 420, Boger Floud to Sir N. Bich, Providencei 16 Maj, 


captain will bestow the vessel on them. ... I offered 
the Governor,^' if he would let me go with 5 or 6 men to 
carry Capt. Canmiock the news [at the Cape] I would 
take my shallop and bear the men safe, which was 
regarded as a task of desperateness. The Dutch captain 
and pilot, being of my acquaintance, made offer to me 
and others to seU his ship; if we would go with 20 men, 
he would serve us a twelve-month for one-third of what 
we should take, which offer was refused as prejudicial 
to the peace, yet [if] Captain Canmaock's men is suffered 
to go and take, although but a fisherman, the breach is 
no less than in a plate ship. ' ' 

The Spanish fleet that attacked Providence in 1635 
had previously reconnoitred Henrietta and found there 
only a few escaped servants, who on their approach fled 
to the dense woods covering the island. After burning 
the few huts and sheds that were made use of by the boat 
builders, the enemy departed to the attack upon their 
main objective. After the Spanish repulse, boat-building 
was carried on in Henrietta as before and some pinnaces 
of fair size were launched, among them the two that 
were to act as tenders to the Blessing and Expectation. 
Salt-making for curing the flesh of the turtle found on 
the shores of the island was also carried on. In ld!arch, 
1636, William Woodcock, the company's husband, pro- 
posed to the company that he should send on his own 
account a number of men to raise commodities, especially 
dettee and annotto, upon Henrietta, he in return paying 
to the company one-fifth of the profits but bearing all 
expense himself. He had recently been engaging in a 
similar undertaking in Connecticut, where he had placed 
several servants to look after the flocks of sheep he had 
exported from England in partnership with Sir Richard * 

18 Gov. BeU of Providence. 


Saltonstall/* The Massachusetts iminigrants from Dor- 
chester interfered with the peaceful occupation of his 
land, broke down his fences and allowed his sheep to 
escape, whereby both he and Saltonstall suffered consid- 
erable loss.'® He now got ready some fifty servants 
under the command of one Capt. Andrew Carter and 
shipped them on one of his own ships, the Hopewell 
Carter received a commission from the company as gov- 
ernor of the island of Henrietta and by April, 1636, 
everything was ready for sailing, when for some reason 
Woodcock resolved to defer the plantation of Henrietta 
for a time, and his men were ordered to Providence 
instead. The company wrote to the council that Wood- 
cock had deferred his plantation upon Henrietta and 
consented that those who were designed to begin a plan- 
tation there should be left at Providence until a further 
number could be sent over. The defence of the island 
would thereby be strengthened, **the principal thing 
considerable in our designs.'* Woodcock's men were 
directed to seat themselves together on some part of the 
windward side of the island, that was not yet planted, 
and there they were to get ready provisions for their 
future plantation. This body of men under Carter's 
leadership formed an important addition to the anti- 
Puritan party in Providence and had a good deal to do 
with its ultimate loss. 

The Blessing, the Expectation, and the Hopewell set 
sail from England in company in May, 1636, but soon lost 

i» Mass. Hist Soc. Coll, 4tb series, VI, 579, Sir Bichard Saltonstall to 
John Winthrop, jr. See also 5th series, I, 216. 

30 Lord Brooke to John Winthrop. "I am informed by Mr. Woodcock 
that he sent over the last year [1635] to Connecticut at least 20 servants to 
impale some ground, where they might improve their industry to his ad- 
vantage and wherein he might feed some store of sheep." He was pre- 
vented by the Dorchester men and Lord Brooke recommends to Winthrop 
his demands for compensation. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., 5th series, I, 240. 


sight one of another. The Blessing and the HopeweU 
arrived in Providence after comparatively uneventful 
voyages, and William Rous having taken conmiand of 
the former, she set sail on her roving conunission against 
the Spaniards. The Expectation's voyage, however, was 
by no means so uneventful and her hundred passengers 
underwent terrible privations. She had not long left 
England when some mysterious sickness broke out on 
board to which Cornelius Billinger, the master, soon fell 
a victim. The command therefore devolved upon Giles 
Mersh, the mate, who, instead of landing his passengers 
at Providence, refused to enter the harbour and retained 
them on board to augment his fighting force. Two or 
three Spanish frigates were attacked in turn, but noth- 
ing of value was secured save a few negroes. After 
setting the crews of these frigates on shore near Car- 
tagena, Mersh sailed across to the Moskito Cays and 
there remained for fourteen days trading for negroes 
with the Dutch slave-merchants in return for goods 
taken out of the supply he was carrying to Providence. 
Leaving the Moskito Cays, he again bore across to the 
coast of Terra Firma and there met the Blessing, whose 
captain, Rous, proposed to make a joint attack on the 
Spanish town of Santa Marta guided by a Spanish pilot 
he had captured. Though Mersh agreed to assist Rous 
in his enterprise, by his dilatoriness he failed to take 
advantage of favouring winds and the Blessing was left 
to make the attack alone. The supply of provisions on 
the Expectation had by now begun to run very short and 
the seamen and passengers were practically starving, 
though Mersh and his mate were living riotously in the 
cabin. The sickness again broke out on board and when, 
six weeks after leaving the Moskitos, the Expectation at 
last cast anchor in the harbour of Providence, more than 
forty of the original complement of one hundred passen- 


gers were dead and of the survivors not more than ten 
were whole and well. 

When the Blessing had landed Gov. Hunt and the rest 
of her passengers in Providence and Capt. Rous came 
aboard to take command, it was to the great delight of 
the crew, for Sous had obtained a great name in the 
Indies for his profitable depredations in light pinnaces. 
Thomas Gage, the English Capuchin^ who was sailing 
from Porto Bello to Cartagena late in 1636, gives us an 
idea of the hatred felt by the Spaniards towards the 
Providence colonists at this time:" **The greatest fear 
that, I perceived, possessed the Spaniard in this voyage 
was about the Island of Providence, called by them Sta. 
Catalina or St. Katherine, from whence they feared lest 
some English ships should come out against them with 
great strength. They cursed the English in it and called 
the Island the den of Thieves and Pirates wishing that 
the King of Spain would take some course with it; or 
else that it would prove very prejudicial to the Spaniards, 
lying near the mouth of the Desaguadero, and so endan- 
gering the Frigates of Granada, and standing between 
Portobel and Cartagena and so threatening the Galeons 
and their King's yearly and mighty treasure. Thus with 
bitter invectives against the English and the Island of 
Providence, we sailed on to Cartagena.** 

The Blessing's roving cruise was neither a successful 
nor a lengthy one, for, having, as we have seen, met the 
Expectation, and arranged to attack the town of Santa 
Marta in concert, the Expectation was becalmed and the 
Blessing entered the harbour alone. The town had been 
warned of the approach of the English by the Spaniards, 
who had been put ashore from the Expectation near Car- 
tagena, and Rous met with a very warm reception. The 

21 Gage, The Engliah American, p. 450. 


fight was too unequal to be a long one and after the 
English had lost several men, the rest, including Rous 
himself, were compelled to surrender on October 20, 1636. 
The prisoners were taken overland to Cartagena and 
there they were met on his landing by Thomas Gage. 
He says :" * * I stayed in the Haven of Cartagena for the 
space of eight or ten days, where I met with some of my 
countrymen their prisoners, but especially that gallant 
Captain Bouse, who came unto me to complain of 
some affronts which had been offered unto him by the 
Spaniards in the ship whereby he came; which he, not 
being able to put up with, though a Prisoner unto them, 
desired to question in the field, challenging his proud 
contemners to meet him if they durst in any place of the 
Havanna (a brave temper in a dejected and imprisoned 
English man to challenge a Spaniard in his own country 
as a cock upon his own dunghill). '* The temper that 
Rous had exhibited in Providence, he therefore carried 
with him into his captivity. Gage with difficulty per- 
suaded him to abandon his attempt at satisfaction and in 
due course Rous was sent to Europe and arrived a 
prisoner at San Lucar. 

He had already written from Cartagena to his kinsman 
Pym to secure his release, and he again wrote from San 
Lucar. Pym at once sent to him in Spain £20 out of his 
own pocket to relieve his pressing necessities, and in 
January, 1638, he informed the company of Rouses 
plight. Letters were at once obtained from the king to 
the English ambassador in Spain requesting Rous's 
immediate release and inquiring what right the Span- 
iards had to take our ships prize upon the coast of 
America." But it was found impossible to do anything 
and on June 12, 1638, Fanshawe, the English charge 

22 Ibid., p. 452. 

28 State Papers, Foreign, Spain, Hopton to Windebank, 14 July, 1638. 


d'affaires, wrote to Secretary Coke:" ** There depends 
another business here concerning one. Captain Rous, who 
was brought likewise from the Indies to the prison of 
San Lucar his Lordship could procure no resolution 
touching him, neither can I hitherto, and it may be likely 
in my opinion that the issue will be as of other cases, ' ' — 
that is to say that no official order would be forthcoming 
for the prisoner's release, but the use of bribery would 
be tacitly winked at and the prisoners would be permitted 
to make their escape from the prison of the Casa de 
Contratacion. The expected happened; for ten months 
Rous was allowed on bail in the town of San Lucar, being 
supported by a sum of £75 sent to him privately by Pym 
and by £100 borrowed from the English consul, Paul 
Wadworth; one of his fellow-prisoners** having ab- 
sconded, Rous had his bail withdrawn and was cast into 
the common gaol of the town. In November, 1639, by 
dint of money provided by Pym, he managed to secure 
his escape along with the other surviving prisoners and 
at once returned to England, where he was content to 
settle down for a time. He was in later years elected a 
member of the Long Parliament, but played no very 
important part in its proceedings. 

The story of Rous and the Blessing has seemed worth 
the telling in this detail, if only to illustrate Ihe fact 
that the English sailors of Charles I 's day were subject 
to the same vicissitudes that Hakluyt and Purchas de- 
scribe for the Elizabethan sailors. There had been as 
yet no break of the Elizabethan tradition, the old feud 
was still kept up, and stories such as these going the 
round of English firesides made blind hatred of Papist 

s« a p. Foreign, Spain. 

2fi Edward Layfield. The ship he escaped in fell into the hands of 
Algerine pirates and he was again a prisoner. 


Spain still the dominant motive of the ordinary English- 
man in foreign politics. 

The Blessing and her consorts had sailed from Eng- 
land in May, 1636, and in the same month the company 
was approached by Capt. Thomas Newman, with whose 
privateering exploits in the West Indies in the ship 
Hunter we dealt in a previous chapter. Newman pro- 
posed to the company through Treasurer Pym to under- 
take a voyage for reprisals in the Indies under the com- 
pany 's commission, either being set out by them or if he 
set himself out, paying them a fixed proportion of the 
proceeds of the voyage. Pym strongly advised that 
Newman should be employed and was of the opinion that 
it would be more profitable for the company to send him 
out in one of their own ships, as by this means they 
would secure a larger share of the booty. This was the 
plan accepted by the company and a fresh joint stock 
was started to provide the requisite capital. Nine adven- 
turers" subscribed £1250 between them, and to this New- 
man himself added £400; a ship of three hundred tons, 
the Happy Return, was hired, together with a smaller 
vessel, the Providence, and both were well equipped with 
ammunition and ordnance. Some twenty servants were 
the only passengers sent by these vessels to Providence, 
as Newman desired to undertake hostilities against the 
enemy on his voyage out and civilian passengers would 
impede his activity. The vessels sailed from England 
in August, 1636, with the same commission and instruc- 
tions that had been issued for the Blessing; their voyage 
was fairly successful until its last few weeks and we must 
return to some consideration of it later. 

Owing to the terrible visitation of the plague that 
afflicted England throughout the later part of 1636, there 

'•Saye £200, Brooke £200, Rudjerd £50, N. Rich £100, Pym £200, 
Qurdon £50, Darlej £100, Barrington £100, Woodcock £200, Waller £50. 


was an entire intermission of the company's meetings 
from June, 1636, to January, 1637, and the small amount 
of business that had to be carried on was left in the 
hands of Secretary Jessop. In December the James, 
under the command of Capt. William Rudyerd, that had 
sailed to recolonise Association in June, 1636, put back 
into Plymouth utterly disabled. The news was carried 
to Pym, who was then staying with Lord Brooke at his 
country seat, Warwick Castle ; they with Lord Saye, who 
was also staying at the castle, decided that the design 
upon Association should be abandoned, and that Rud- 
yerd should be placed in command of a new vessel, the 
Mary Hope, and despatched to the West Indies on a prize 
voyage, financed by the remainder of the amount sub- 
scribed for the Association design. The instructions for 
his voyage were similar in form to those issued to others 
of the company's captains, but there was one important 
addition. Pym had begun to find that the company's 
permission to undertake reprisals against the Spaniards 
had a high commercial value, and that considerable sums 
might be made by issuing licenses or commissions to act 
under it for a percentage of the profits obtained. Rud- 
yerd was therefore instructed to stay any Englishmen 
whom he found trading within the limits of the com- 
pany's patents without their licenses. Any hostile action 
against Spain by other Englishmen he was to prevent in 
as far as he was able. Such an order was obviously futile 
and incapable of fulfilment, but it was a useful advertise- 
ment to the merchants, who desired to undertake priva- 
teering voyages, that the Providence Company had a 
valuable article to dispose of and would be pleased to do 
business at a reasonable rate. 




In the story of the Providence Company and its activi- 
ties there is, perhaps, no more striking fact to be noted 
than the intimate connection of its fortunes with the 
general history of the time. We have shown in an earlier 
chapter how the growing agitation against the illegal 
levying of ship-money had much to do with the frustra- 
tion of the project of the Puritan leaders for emigration 
to the New World, and our investigation now leads us to 
consider how, in 1637, Pym and his fellows became 
involved in an organised conspiracy to defeat the gov- 
ernment's plans to finance their arbitrary regime by the 
extension of a tax that had never received the sanction 
of parliament. The student of Stuart history cannot 
fail to notice at every turn of his enquiries, how great 
an influence the variations in England's foreign policy 
had upon the course of home politics, and here again we 
find the king's insoluble problem of how to secure the 
restoration of the Palatinate to Protestant hands play- 
ing a potent part in the affairs of the Puritan leaders. 

Charles I's plans for the recovery of the hereditary 
possessions of his young nephew, the Elector Palatine, 
were marked by an irresolution and a trust in tortuous 
diplomatic intrigues that made his name a byword in 
every court in Europe. A perpetual conflict of opinion 
raged in his councils between those who favoured a close 
alliance with Spain and those who, led by the queen and 
her confidant, the Earl of Holland, urged an opposite 


course and a reliance upon French support. In Decem- 
ber, 1636, the Earl of Arundel, who had been prominent 
among the pro-Spanish party, returned to England from 
an unsuccessful mission to the court of Vienna, so dis- 
couraged and disillusioned that he resolved to throw his 
influence into the opposite scale and to advise the king 
to an open alliance with France against Spain/ His 
assistance was particularly welcome to the Earl of Hol- 
land and the queen, and strong pressure was brought to 
bear on the king to force him to yield to the entreaties for 
overt action of his sister, the dispossessed queen of 
Bohemia, and her devoted adherent, Sir Thomas Boe. 
For months Boe had been suggesting that letters of 
marque for voluntary war against the king of Spain in 
the Indies should be granted in the name of the young 
Elector Palatine,^ and in January, 1637, the foreign 
affairs committee of the Privy Council decided that some 
of the ships raised by the ship-money should be lent to 
the elector.' The greatest enthusiasm for the new plan 
was expressed at court and many noblemen came for- 
ward with subscriptions to aid the enterprise. While 
the preliminary arrangements were being made, over- 
tures were received from Bichelieu for a close treaty of 
alliance between England and France, and it appeared 
as though the king would at last be able to strike out a 
clear course in foreign policy, that would meet with the 
approval of the nation at large. On the 7th of February, 
all the twelve judges to whom the question of the legality 
of ship-money had been referred returned an answer in 
the affirmative and Charles was sanguine enough to sup- 

1 Gardiner, VIII, 202. 

2 C. 8. P. Dom,, 1636-1037, Oct. 19. See also p. 504 and S. P. Dom., 
cccl, no. 77. For Boe's propositions in 1637 for the formation of an 
English West Indian Company, see C, 8, P. Dom., 6 Aug., 1637, and Ool. 
Pap., IX, 61, 62, 63. 

« Gardiner, VIH, 204. 


pose that this answer would soon put a stop to the agi- 
tation in the country about the obnoxious tax, and that 
he would soon be in possession of a revenue ample 
enough to permit him to undertake hostilities with every 
hope of success. 

While the meetings of the Providence Company in 
London had been intermitted owing to the plague, some 
most important overtures from the West India Company 
of Holland had been made to the Earl of Warwick and 
his partners. The period of the greatest activity of the 
Dutch company was just opening, and active prepara- 
tions were being made for the despatch of Count Joan 
Maurice of Nassau with ample resources to develop the 
Dutch empire in Brazil as supreme civil and military 
commander. In order to divide the Spaniards ' attention 
a great diversion in the West Indies was contemplated 
and it was therefore suggested that the Providence Com- 
pany should transfer their rights in the island to the 
West India Company of Holland, who would undertake 
the maintenance of the colony and would make it a base 
of attack upon the Panama trade. That the negotiations 
might be carried on, it was necessary for the Providence 
Company to obtain permission from the crown to part 
with the island, if a decent price could be obtained. The 
Earl of Holland was therefore requested to approach 
the king and to report to the company the result of his 
petition, but the^ request was made at the height of the 
new enthusiasm at court for anti-Spanish projects and 
the moment was evidently inopportune for the granting 
of the desired permission to part with an English pos- 
session that would form so suitable a base for offensive 
operations against the Spaniards. 

On February 9, 1637, the Earl of Holland made his 
only appearance at the general court of the Providence 
Company to convey the decision of the king concerning 


the island * * for the parting from which his Majesty was 
pleased to promise leave to the company some time 
since, it proving hitherto a place of charge rather than 
profit.'* ** Forasmuch, " said he, **as the Dutch ambas- 
sador had declared to his Lordship the Hollander's un- 
certainty and delays in resolution and their unwillingness 
to part with so great a sum as might be expected by the 
company, he had moved his Majesty to retain the island 
still in the hands of his own subjects, and the rather 
because of some designs in resolutions to be attempted 
about those parts. And to that end his Majesty would be 
pleased either to allow the company a convenient sum 
of money for recompense of their charges, or to furnish 
them with means to secure the place until his Majesty 
shall think fit to take it of them. ' ' The negotiations with 
the Dutch were therefore to be broken off and the com- 
pany were directed to prepare propositions for carrying 
on the work. In accordance with this direction the gen- 
eral court appointed a standing committee for the 
launching of a new scheme, and the last reconstruction 
of the company was begun. The work occupied rather 
more than a year, and in April, 1638, a large expedition 
was sent to strengthen Providence, under the command 
of the celebrated Capt. Nathaniel Butler as military gov- 
ernor. The negotiations that led up to the despatch of 
this expedition had, of course, a great influence on the 
fortunes of the colony and will demand our attention 
from that point of view, but they are of wider interest as 
a part of the activity of the Puritan leaders and it is 
from this standpoint that we must first consider them. 

When the king refused his permission for the sale of 
Providence and recommended a reconstruction of the 
company in February, 1637, his affairs had to the inex- 
perienced eye never seemed in a more prosperous con- 
dition ; when in April, 1638, the reconstruction was com- 


plete and Butler's expedition was despatched, this hol- 
low show of prosperity had vanished before the menace 
of Scottish rebellion, and even the least capable student 
of affairs could see that a crisis was at hand, and that 
the struggle between crown and parliament, that had 
apparently closed in 1629, still remained to be fought to 
an issue. Through these months of preparation the 
doings of the Puritan leaders are wrapped in obscurity, 
and any indirect light that can be thrown upon them is 
of value where evidence is so lacking. Some such light 
it is possible to obtain from the Providence records, and, 
though its gleams are scant and fitful, yet where more 
definite information cannot, of necessity, be obtained, it 
may aid us somewhat to pierce the gloom. Nothing less 
was in process of formation during these months than 
the first organised political party of opposition to an 
English government, a task whose difficulty can hardly 
be grasped by the modern Englishman, to whom nothing 
is more natural than the existence of **His Majesty's 
Opposition," bound as closely to constitutional courses 
as any other party in the state. As in nature the shock 
of an external impulse will cause the saturated fluid to 
congeal round a tiny nucleus into a solid mass, so did 
that congeries of discordant units, the England of 1637, 
form itself round the nucleus of the Providence Company 
into the opposition of 1640, stiffened in active resistance 
to absolutism by the external impulse of the Scottish 

The men of the next generation realized what an impor- 
tant part the meetings of the Providence adventurers 
played in the organisation of the opposition, for we may 
learn from the pages of Anthony a Wood that: **At 
Saye's house in the country at Broughton [near Ban- 
bury] the malcontents used to meet, and what embryos 
were conceived in the country, were shaped in Gray's Inn 


Lane, near London, where the undertakers for the Isle of 
Providence did meet/'* Hostility to the second writ of 
ship-money had been most noticeable in those counties 
where the Puritan leaders could especially exercise their 
territorial influence, and the State Papers for 1636-1637 
bear this out in detail. Fawsley, Broughton, Hatfield 
Broad Oak, Great Hampden, and Harrow-on-the-Hill 
are names that are constantly recurring in the sheriffs ' 
complaints of their inability to collect their quotas," and 
the conviction is borne in upon us that a concerted plan 
of resistance to the impost had been agreed upon. Saye, 
as the Puritan leader who had been most often engaged 
in similar contests with the government, determined, if 
possible, to test the legality of the hated tax in the courts 
of law, and chose one of his Lincolnshire estates as the 
case for conflict. Some of his goods had been distrained 
upon for payment of his portion of the ship-money and 
Saye in consequence sued the constable for illegal dis- 
traint;* in reply the constable pleaded the king's writ 
and to this Saye demurred as an insuj£cient authority. 
The government declined to take up the battle on such 
grounds and Saye was proceeded against in the Star 
Chamber for depopulation of his estates, an entire 
shirking of the issue. Nor could Warwick, even though 
he openly protested to the king, secure that his case 
should be brought before the courts, while he found it 
difficult to secure the signatures of any but his own 

« Woody Athena Oxanienses, ed. Bliss, III, 547. 

fiA few instances only will suffice: C. 8. P. Dom., 1636-1637, 20 March, 
28 March, 10 October, difficoltj of collection from Knightley's tenants at 
Fawsley; 12 Sept., distress to be levied on Saye's Gloucestershire tenants; 
many other entries re Saye; 4 Oct., Sir Gilbert Gerrard refuses to pay 
ship-money at Harrow; p. 214, very refractory in payment among Barring- 
ton 's tenants at Hatfield Broad Oak ; 1 7 Nov., 17 Dec., the Earl of Warwick 
refuses to pay. 

« C. 8, P. Dam., 1636-1637, pp. 155, 252. 


immediate party to the public protest against the ship- 
money with which he meant to approach the king. 
Charles's presentation of the question of legality to the 
judges was intended to put an end to all hopes of a 
direct trial of the issue, and the public reading of the 
judges' answer on February 14, 1637, finally clinched 
the matter as far as the majority of people were con- 
cerned/ But although Lord Keeper Coventry had hinted 
his belief that any lawyer would be very foolish to take 
up so desperate a case as the contest of the legality of 
ship-money in face of the unanimous decision of the 
judges, the Puritan leaders were not of the same mind. 

On the 24th, 26th, and 27th of February, 1637, we find 
from our records that meetings of the Providence Com- 
pany were held at Preston Capes in Northamptonshire, 
only half a mile away from Kiiightley's seat at Fawsley 
and where he may have possessed a second residence. 
The adventurers attending these meetings were Saye, 
Brooke, Mandeville," Ejiightley, and Pym, together with 
the company's husband. Woodcock, whom we may 
neglect. The presence of John Hampden at Preston 
may also be confidently assumed, for his seat at Great 
Hampden in Buckinghamshire was only a few hours' 
ride away. Among Knightley's guests there is no doubt 
that the Providence Company's affairs would demand 
very little share of the conversation, but the one absorb- 
ing topic would be the recent answer of the judges and 

T Gardiner, VIII, 209. 

> Edward Montagu, Viscount Mandeville, had begun to take a prominent 
part in the company's work after the death of Sir Nathaniel Rich on 29 
Maj, 1636. From a letter of Matthew Cradoek to John Winthrop, 15 
March, 1637, we learn that Sir Nathaniel's life was shortened bj the 
immoderate use of a new quack medicine, the "Antimoniall Cuppe" (Mass. 
Hist. Soc. Coll,, 4th series, VI, 125). Mandeville was Rich's executor and 
succeeded to the whole of his holding in the company, and to his papers. 
This accounts for the presence of Rich 's papers in the Manchester collection. 
Rich's will is extant at Somerset House. 


the best means of compelling the government to take up 
a definite challenge in the law courts. Pym could speak 
for the wealthiest and most respected Puritan in Eng- 
land, the Earl of Bedford, as entirely sympathetic to the 
object in view, and the services of the two lawyers, 
Holbome and St. John, to whom the management of the 
whole of the vast Bussell law business was entrusted, 
might be depended upon for the proper presentation of 
the case. On the 9th of March,* the plans of the con- 
spirators were put into action, a writ of certiorari was 
directed from the Chancery in respect of Hampden's 
refusal to pay the twenty shillings of ship-money 
assessed on his lands in the parish of Stoke Mandeville, 
and before the year 1637 was out the names of John 
Hampden and Oliver St. John were the most famous in 

Throughout the early summer of 1637 the business of 
the Providence Company was transacted at Brooke 
House in Holbom by a conmiittee consisting of Saye 
and Pym, with Brooke, Warwick, Rudyerd, and Darley 
as occasional attendants. On July 24, however, we again 
find Saye, Brooke, Pym, and Mandeville meeting at 
Fawsley. Between July and November no meetings 
were held owing to the inmiersion of Pym in the prepa- 
rations for the coming case. Pym and St. John were 
Hampden's close counsellors in the interval before the 
public trial, and six months^^ were passed in preparation 
on both sides. While the public arguments on the case 
were proceeding in the Exchequer Chamber," there was 
a full assembling of the Puritan leaders in London. On 
November 27, Saye, Brooke, Pym, Waller, Barrington 
(now a very rare attendant), Darley, and Woodcock met 

• Nugent 's Metns, of Hampden (5th ed., pub. Bell), p. 108. 

loPorster'B Life of Pym, p. 76. 

11 6 November to 18 December, 1637. 


at Brooke House; on December 9, Saye, Brooke, Pym, 
Warwick, Mandeville, Darley, and Woodcock and two 
days later Saye, Brooke, Pym, Darley, Waller, Barring- 
ton, and Woodcock met at Brooke House. The regula- 
tions enforcing upon country gentlemen residence upon 
their estates were particularly strictly enforced at Christ- 
mas, 1637, and orders were issued that all must leave 
London before December 12. It is now for the first time 
that we find Pym taking charge of the business of the 
Puritan party during the absence of its members from 
London and a special petition was addressed from the 
Providence Company to the king asking permission for 
him to remain along with Darley to look after the busi- 
ness, and in the return of the Middlesex justices" to the 
government, we find his name recorded as residing during 
the early part of January in St. Andrew's parish, Hol- 
born. Against some of the names given, mention is made 
that permission to stay had been accorded, but there is 
no record of the sort against Pym's name and it is 
possible, therefore, that he stayed without any proper 
warrant and in despite of the royal order. 

From the end of January, 1638, onwards, full meetings 
of the company were resumed at Brooke House, and 
Saye, Brooke, Warwick, Pym, and Mandeville were 
regular attendants. At this period the outlook of affairs 
was so black for the Puritan party, and there seemed so 
little chance of making headway against the tide of 
absolutism and Arminian innovation, that once more the 
idea of emigration presented itself to the leaders and 
preparations began to be made for them to proceed to 
Providence and the Main. On January 31, 1638, Lord 
Saye announced to the company his intention of emi- 

n S. p. Dom.y Car. I, ccclxxviii, No. 94, 16 Jan., 1638. Betum by John 
Heme and G^. Long, justices of the peace for Middlesex, of such persons 
of honour as have continued in London since 12 December last. 


grating to the island as soon as he could clear up his 
affairs in England, and on February 15 the Earl of 
Warwick, Lord Brooke, and Henry Darley signified that 
they had the same intention, thus reviving the idea that 
they had been compelled by governmental pressure to 
abandon in 1633, when their intended goal was New 
England. The feelings of profound discouragement that 
filled the hearts of the Puritan leaders were even deeper 
in 1638 than in 1635, and Gardiner has described for us^' 
how these feelings had spread even to those least in 
sympathy with Calvinism, and has shown how the gentle 
Milton of **L 'Allegro'' was waked **to the scornful 
indignation of the time that sounds forth with so stem 
a note from among the graceful lamentations of 
Lycidas. ' ' Almost as striking a note is heard in a brief 
letter that John Pym addressed to his old friend, John 
Wandesford, then consul of the English Levant Com- 
pany at Aleppo. This letter has found its way into the 
State Papers, and this fact may indicate that the govern- 
ment, even in 1638, were beginning to suspect Pym of 
being the business man of the Puritan party and were 
intercepting some of his correspondence in the hope of 
finding evidence of treasonable conmiunications with the 
malcontent Scots. The letter, though brief, is of interest 
as being one of the very few personal communications 
from Pym that have come down to us. He says : * * I have 
passed through much variety of occasions since I last 
writ to you, and they furnish me matter of excuse of 
several kinds, which will not yield any the least charge 
or touch of disrespect or forgetfulness to be laid upon 
me. Now, being again to go into the country, where I 
have been for the most part of those two years last past, 
and it being a time which threatens great change and 
trouble, I have thought good now to salute you with this 

18 Gardiner, VIII, 244 sqq. 


short letter and to assure you that you have always had 
a place in my thoughts and affections of much estimation 
and respect, and that I think myself indebted to you for 
many kindnesses and expressions of love, which I cannot 
deserve. How God will dispose of me I know not I If 
the public peace continue, I hope to write again in 
Michaelmas Term; if distemper and confusion do over- 
whelm us, in whatever condition I am, I shall live in a 
resolution, both by my prayers and endeavours, always 
to express myself your very assured friend and servant 

In March, 1638, the adventurers were determined to 
depart and a formal petition was presented to the king 
through the Earl of Holland, praying for permission for 
the principal members of the Providence Company to 
leave England for Providence in order to settle there the 
affairs of the island. In the distractions of the conflict 
in Scotland that was rapidly moving towards war, 
the West Indian designs of 1637 had been entirely for- 
gotten and it was hardly likely that the government 
would consent to lose sight of notorious malcontents, 
such as Saye and Brooke, who were suspected with very 
good reason of being in intimate relations with the Scot- 
tish rebels." A single entry in the Providence records 
under date February 20, 1638, tends to confimj this. 
Lord Brooke desired the company to acquaint Lord 
Forbes ''that they had thought of his brother as a 
gentleman well qualified for the government of Provi- 
dence,*' and Lord Forbes was to invite his brother to 
accept a proposition of the company. Nothing came of 
the plan, but the entry is of interest to us when we 
remember that Lord Forbes was one of the most cele- 
brated Scottish soldiers of the time, was deep in the 

i« C. 8. p. Dom., 20 Julj, 1638, John Pym to John Wandesf ord. 
18 Gardiner, VIII, 335. 


counsels of the Scots leaders and a year later was one 
of those who, out of his military experience in Germany, 
recommended Alexander Leslie for the command of the 
Covenanting forces. No answer was returned by the 
king to Saye's petition and the only trace of it that has 
remained outside our records is, as we showed in a 
previous chapter, the tradition preserved by Bate and 
Dugdale that the Puritan leaders were contemplating 
emigration to America in 1638. 



We have now to retrace our steps a little and take np 
again the thread of our story where we dropped it with 
the king's suggestion for a reconstruction of the Provi- 
dence Company in February, 1637. The standing com- 
mittee appointed to draft a scheme laboured diligently 
under the presidency of Pym, and by June their plans 
. were ready and were submitted to the company at large 
and to many outside members of the Puritan party, who 
were thought likely to join. As their scheme is recorded 
in the company's minutes, it bears a striking resemblance 
to a modem company prospectus and it is worth while 
to examine it for a moment. For the good of the king- 
dom it is fitting that the design of Providence should be 
pursued because of: **1. The strength and opportunity 
of that island to become the foundation of very great 
enterprise by annoying the Spaniard and intercepting 
his treasure, whereby he hath troubled and endangered 
most of the States of Christendom and doth foment the 
wars against the professors of the reformed religion. 
2. The facility of transporting colonies from thence to 
the Main Continent being, as [the company] hath [been] 
informed by divers that have viewed it, as rich and fer- 
tile as any other part of the Indies, where there do 
already grow commodities of very good use, which may 
by the industry of many hands be brought home in great 
quantities ; and the soil capable of the richest drugs and 
merchandize, which come from America. ' ' The king has 
promised the company freedom from all customs both 


for outlading and inlading for twenty-one years, freedom 
from the new impositions on ordnance and ammunition, 
to be accountable to no admiralty but their own, and to 
be free from all the proclamations set forth against 
going into America. 

The committee therefore propose that a stock of 
£100,000 shall be raised by instahnents of £20,000 a year 
for five years. One thousand pounds shall be a whole 
share with four votes and £250 to have one vote ; no man 
shall be obliged to pay in to the first supply before 
twenty whole shares have been subscribed, nor into the 
final supply till fifty whole shares. Three principal 
members of the company shall go out to govern the 
colony as^ soon as the company is provided to set them 
forth, but until then a soldier and a gentleman shall be 
set forth as governor with one hundred well-armed fight- 
ing men and supplies to prepare the way. Further light 
is thrown on the designs of the company by an extant 
letter from Sir Edmond Moundeford to Sir Simonds 
D^Ewes, the antiquary, inviting him to subscribe to the 
new stock:* 


I have received your command to inform you concerning the 
Isle of Providence. Lately we finding our strength too weak 
longer to support so great a burden, the Company were resolved 
to sell it to the States of Holland, they then offering us for it 
£70,000; we, by the Earl of Holland, our Governor, petitioned 
his Ma^ for leave to sell; our answer was very gracious that 
he hoped it might be useful to him in his present designs, there- 
fore would not as yet have it sold, but desired we would go on 
with the work and we should have such helps from him as in 
compass of reason should be desired, which accordingly were 

^ This provision is of interest as showing that even thns early it was 
reeognized that Massachusetts had succeeded better than other colonies 
because it was governed by members of the company on the spot. 

3 Brit. Mus., Harl. MSS., 287, f o. 265. 


upon our petition granted with promise of further addition of 
his favour. I shall relate some of those things we obtained as 
my memory will help. 

(Here Moundeford recites most of the privileges above 
enumerated and adds) : Freedom from the proclamations set 
forth against going into the American plantations. So that we 
may send or carry whom we will, without disturbance or further 
trouble. ... It was resolved before I came out of town that 
three of our company should go in person . . . and five hundred 
men to be sent with them. Some of the Lords and others of 
great quality are resolved to go. 

It is thought a great part of the stream will be carried from 
the late intended course and fall upon this plantation instead 
of New England, we having there many good people and very 
considerable teachers. The place is highly commended for 
health and plenty. I will not now trouble you further ; so soon 
as I hear from London I will send to you, being desirous to see 
you added to the honourable Company, of whom, you know, 
many will be glad of your society, and so shall I who crave to 
have my service presented to your noble lady 

and to be ever your affectionate friend 

To his much honoured and ally 

friend and kiuHTnan Ed. Moundeford 

Sir Simonds D'Ewes, Knight, these at his Stowhall, Suff*^. 

The idea expressed in the last paragraph of this letter, 
of diverting the stream of Puritan emigration from New 
England, marks how far the Puritan parties in England 
and America had become estranged one from another 
in seven years, and the company's efforts to carry it out 
will demand our full consideration in a subsequent 
chapter. Owing to the troubles in which England became 
immersed in the latter part of 1637, no new adventurers 
could be persuaded to take up shares in the new stock, 
and finally £6000 had to be subscribed by Warwick, Saye, 
Brooke, Mandeville, and Pym in order to keep the enter- 


prise running.* It was impossible to secure from the 
king any ratification of the privileges he had promised, 
as he had rapidly lost all interest in the western design 
and had begun once more to desire a rapprochement with 

The new expedition, however, was got ready by April, 
1638, and placed under the command of an old protege of 
the Earl of Warwick, Capt. Nathaniel Butler, whose 
name was particularly well known in the Western 
Hemisphere.^ Butler, who came of a good Bedfordshire 
family, had led a very adventurous life and had prob- 
ably had his first American experience in one of the 
early Guiana voyages. In 1619 he was appointed by the 
Earl of Warwick *s influence to the governorship of 
Bermuda, which he held till 1622. His governorship was 
marked by the difficulties concerning the ship Treasurer, 
that we have dealt with in an earlier chapter, and by 
some very questionable proceedings concerning a Span- 
ish wreck. The Spanish government took up the matter 
so vigorously that Butler had to be superseded, and he 
proceeded to Virginia in the autumn of 1622. There he 
led an expedition against the up-river Indians and, 
returning to England, published in April, 1623, the 

8 Warwick, Saje, Mandeville, Pjm, £1000 each, Brooke £2000 in two 

« For an outline of Butler's life, see Brown, Genesis, II, 836. He makes 
the usual confusion between Sta. Catalina and the Bahamas and says that 
Butler "was probablj the person who was committed to Newgate for 
dispersing treasonable and scandalous books in June, 1649." This guess 
is demonstrably wrong; the prisoner was the well-known Nathaniel Butter, 
the publisher of so manj of the tracts in the Thomason Ck>llection, who 
often got into trouble with the authorities for his publications. Butler 
was the author of a work upon seamanship, which was fairly well known 
in the seventeenth century. The original draft of the work is in the British 
Museum (Sloane MS8., 758). The work must have been written in part 
while Butler was governor of Providence, for many pages of the MSS. are 
filled with notes concerning the island's affairs and the volume also 
contains a very full diary of events in Providence. 



venomous attack upon the administration of the colony 
called The Unmasking of Virginia. After the dissolu- 
tion of the Virginia Company he was placed upon the 
council for the government of the colony, but did not 
serve for long. In the Cadiz expedition of 1625 he com- 
manded the hired merchant vessel, the Jonathan, of 
two hundred and fifty tons' and he served also in the 
expedition to Isle de Bhe. In 1637 he was appointed to 
the conmiand of H. M. frigate Nicodemus, and must have 
relinquished this conunand to take up the governorship 
of Providence. To the colonists the company recom- 
mended Butler as ^^a man of very good parts and 
experience, being an ancient soldier at sea and land and 
heretofore employed in good places of trust and com- 
mand, and a man of very good esteem here, the defence 
of the island requiring at this time a man of ability in 
regard of the danger from the Spaniards. ' ' 

Gov. Hunt had been sent out to supersede Capt. Philip 
Bell in 1636, as having had some acquaintance with the 
military art, but his governorship had been noticeable 
only for a. bitter recrudescence of the quarrels that Bell 
had vainly attempted to assuage. The first governor 
had always endeavoured to hold an even balance between 
the Puritan zealots who, under the leadership of Bish- 
worth and Bous, sided with Sherrard, the minister, and 
the party who desired a relaxation of the rigid Puritan 
regulations that had been imposed by the company. 
The zealots desired to confine the attention of the colo- 
nists to planting and wished to expel from the island 
everyone who did not satisfy the exacting demands of 
the minister for orthodoxy, even though the defence of 
the island were thereby weakened ; their opponents under 
the guidance of Daniel Elf rith and Andrew Carter cared 

B S. p. Dorn., Car. I, VII, 47. See also Nicholas's lists, celzx, 65, celzzziT, 


nothing for religious matters and very little for planting, 
but they wished to rob the Spaniard with as much ease 
and security as possible, and to have a ready market for 
their booty with the Dutch and French ships that came 
to the island. Gov. Hunt, as a rigid Puritan, boldly sided 
with the zealots, and as soon as he had recovered from 
an illness that attacked him on his arrival in Providence, 
lent his aid to an attack on Bell for acts done as governor. 
As we have seen. Bell had to suffer many annoyances, 
but he soon left for England, and the zealots then turned 
their attack upon Elfrith. Even under Bellas governor- 
ship a petition had been presented by certain members 
of the council for his dismissal from all his offices and 
for his punishment ^'as a carnal and ungodly man''; 
the zealots were, however, in a minority and the governor 
refused to receive the petition. The change of governors 
gave the Puritans a majority, and within a few weeks 
Elfrith was deprived of his offices of councillor and 
admiral amid the rejoicings of Sherrard and his adhe- 
rents, though they must have been very much damped 
when they received a letter from the company denounc- 
ing the whole of their proceedings and stigmatising them 
as * * a mere nullity. ' ' 

The other Christian virtues seem to have found little 
place in the hearts of the zealots beside their fervour 
for orthodoxy, for the company were compelled to point 
out to them that when Gov. Bell helped starving new- 
comers out of the company's stores in defiance of the 
wish of Rishworth's party in the council, he was only 
exercising the virtue of Christian charity and was to 
be commended rather than blamed. In other colonies 
the ministers were supported by the voluntary offerings 
of the planters, but in Providence the company was 
expected to bear the whole charge ; nor were the planters 
forward in contributing to the upkeep of the church, 


for the company heard with regret that more trouble 
was lavished upon private dwellings than upon God's 
House; they therefore exhorted the planters to repair 
the church and keep it in a decent manner, this ^^ being 
commended to Christians by the practice of the very 
Pagans themselves. ' ' The absence of many of the most 
unruly spirits from the island on the privateering voy- 
ages that were undertaken from 1636 onwards, left the 
Puritan party in the ascendant throughout the whole of 
Hunt's governorship, but the arrival of Capt. Butler 
as governor, the capture of Rous in the Blessing, and 
the return of Samuel Rishworth to England, weighed 
down the balance on the other side, and it may be well 
here for us somewhat to anticipate events and complete 
the story of the colony's religious troubles. Our infor- 
mation concerning the end of the long conflict is derived 
not only from the colony's records, but also from the 
narrative communicated by one of the ministers of the 
island, Nicholas Leverton, to Dr. Edward Calamy and 
reproduced by him in his Nonconformist's Memorial^ 

Nicholas Leverton, B. A., of Exeter College, Oxford, 
was bom at St. Wall, Cornwall, about 1600. After leav- 
ing Oxford, he kept a little school at Padstow, **but 
being ordained he went to Barbadoes, and there met with 
good acceptance. Though he had yet little seriousness, 
he soon grew weary of the profligate morals of the people 
and went as chaplain to a ship's crew who designed to 
begin a plantation upon Tobago.^ By this means he met 
with a variety of remarkable providences, which God 
blessed to awaken him to a serious sense of religion." 

• Calamy, Nonconformist's Memorial, I, 371. 

7 Tobago had been colonised by a party of Zeelanders from Walcheren 
nnder the auspices of Jan de Moor, burgomaster of Flushing. This colony 
was destroyed with great cruelty by Spaniards and Caribe from Trinidad 
in 1637 and Leverton 's visit to Tobago was soon after this. See Edmundson, 
Eng. Hist. Bev,, XVI, 643. "^>^ 


The attempt at the colonisation of Tobago ended in 
complete failure^ more than half of the company of 
between thirty and forty men being killed by the Caribs. 
The survivors managed to recover their boat with diffi- 
culty and put out to sea. *'Not being able to return to 
Barbadoes or any of our English plantations on that 
side, because of contrary winds, they resolved to make 
to the Isle of Providence, which was five hundred leagues 
off near the line. Notwithstanding many fears and diffi- 
culties they had a prosperous voyage and a welcome 
reception from their countrymen there. 

^^Most of the inhabitants were such as had left their 
native country upon a dissatisfaction with the English 
hierarchy and settled there as others did in New Eng- , 
land. They had but one minister among them, viz., Mr. 
Sherwood,® who was also dissatisfied with conformity. 
Yet some of the inhabitants were for the English cere- 
monies and upon Mr. Leverton's arrival would have had 
him minister to them in their own way.'* It is evident 
that the laxer party in the island were here endeavouring 
to set up a rival minister to Sherrard in order to cloak 
their proceedings under guise of attachment to Arminian 
doctrines. ** Hitherto [Mr. Leverton] had never con- 
sidered the controversy, but his impressions of religion 
were such as the general custom of his country and 
education had made. But now, being made very serious 
by the remarkable providences he had met with and 
finding Mr. S. a pious person, he was disposed to hear 
his reasons for Nonconformity, which induced him 
heartily to fall in with him in the same way.'* Gov. 
Butler reached Providence in October, 1638, and at once 
took sides against the extremists of the Puritan party 
and the ministers, and wrote home to the company to 
their detriment. The company were not prepared to 

• That is, Sherrard. 



listen to these stories and exhorted Butler to give Sher- 
rard and his particular congregation every liberty and 
favour. '*God makes no difference,'' they told him by 
the hand of Pym, ** between them that do faithfully and 
heartily seek him, though there be in the appearance of 
men some difference between them in opinion and prac- 
tice concerning outward things." He was exhorted to 
take away all occasion of faction among the colonists 
and of any breach with the churches of New England, 
who, on their side, they hoped would carry themselves 
modestly and be content with their own freedom, leaving 
others to theirs. The conmiunication between Provi- 
dence and New England had been constant ever since 
1637 and the Puritan party were now applying for active 
help from the churches in Massachusetts. Of their 
intention to support him against his enemies, the com- 
pany assured Hunt, the leader of the Puritans, by the 
same ship: ''Our main desire," they wrote, *4s that 
Godliness may be furthered and vice beaten down, 
and though all honest men shall not agree in their 
opinions and practice concerning outward things, yet 
we hope they will agree with those which are apparent 
for God's glory and the furtherance of the public good, 
which is a disposition which, we hope, is in yourself." 
To the governor and council in their public letter they 
wrote: ''We heartily pray God to bless and direct you 
in your plans that you may be Instruments of His glory, 
and for the furtherance of that great work of subverting 
the Spanish Tyranny in those parts and planting the 
Gospel, which is the main thing that drew us to bestow 
our care and money upon this Design." 

Butler's ideas for the subversion of the Spanish 
tyranny did not involve attention to the duties of his 
governorship, but ran rather in the direction of piratical 
attacks upon Spanish ports. Within six months after 


reaching Providence he got together a mixed fleet of 
Dutch and English ships and set forth- on a regular 
piratical cruise against the Spanish coasts. Butler sup- 
pUes us in his diary with full details concerning the 
expedition, but these need not detain us. It wound up 
with the surprise of Truxillo, the chief port of the prov- 
ince of Honduras, which had successfully repelled the 
attack of Sir Antony Sherley and Capt. Parker in 1597.* 
The town was much decayed and was unable to offer 
resistance to the corsairs* attack. The citizens com- 
pounded for the town 's freedom from sack for a ransom 
of 16,000 pieces of eight, paid partly in bullion and 
partly in indigo, the chief product of the province. 
After so satisfactory an adventure, Butler felt no inclina- 
tion to carry out his bargain with the Providence Com- 
pany, but determined to leave for England without 
delay. Returning to Providence in September, 1639, 
he, without consulting the rest of the council, appointed 
Capt. Andrew Carter, the leader of the anti-Puritans, 
to act as deputy-governor, and took his departure for 
England in great haste in February, 1640. Carter lost 
no time in taking his revenge upon the Puritans for 
their proscription of Elfrith and other of his friends, 
and Leverton's story goes on to tell us that ''at length 
the governor leaving the island, a difference arose in 
the colony. He named his successor, but the people 
pleaded a right by charter to choose their governor and 
fixed upon a person of their own nomination, one 
Captain Lane.*° But the other [i.e. Carter] privately 
arming some of the under sort, seized Lane and both 
the ministers and sent them prisoners" to England, with 

• Hakluyt, VII, 220. 

10 This was the Richard Lane, a prot6g6 of Lord Brooke, who had been 
employed in the company's trade at Darien. 

11 Lane, Leverton, Sherrard, and Henry Halhead, were sent prisoners 
in the Hopewell and arrived in England in January, 1641. 



an information against them to Archbishop Laud, that 
they were disaffected to the liturgy and ceremonies of 
England. When they arrived here, the state of things 
was changed and Laud was in custody of the Black Bod." 
They were kindly received by the Lords Patentees or 
proprietors of the island and encouraged to return.'' 
Before they did so, however, much had taken place and 
none of them saw Providence again. 

From the economic point of view the period of the 
colony 's life that succeeded the supersession of Gov. Bell, 
in 1636, is marked by the great rapidity with which 
Providence approximated to the ordinary type of a West 
Indian colony that subsisted with very little change down 
to the end of the eighteenth century. Barbadoes and 
St. Christopher long had a large majority of whites over 
negroes and carried on the production of tobacco and 
cotton by the labours of indentured white servants, as 
did the English planters of Jamaica for some years after 
its capture, but Providence, owing to the ^privateering 
carried on from thence, was always able to obtain unlim- 
ited supplies of negroes at very cheap rates, and by the 
end of 1637 there were almost as many negroes as white 
men in the island. The company strongly objected to 
the constant increase in the number of negroes as 
endangering the safety of the island, but owing to their 
difficulties in England, they were unable to supply white 
servants to the planters in anything like sufficient 
numbers, and had great difficulty in getting the planters 
to accept even those they did send. The servants were 
contracted with for three or four years ' labour in return 
for food, lodging, and clothing, and at the end of their 
time they were to receive £10 each from their masters and 
a parcel of land from the company. These terms the 

12 Laud had been committed to custodj by the Lords on December 18, 


planters became more and more disinclined to assent to 
as time went on, and the company complained that the 
increased employment of negroes ''brought down the 
bodies and labours of men to such cheapness that we 
shall not be able to supply servants as we have done 
formerly." Those servants who could not be disposed 
of to the planters were combined into families of twenty 
or less and set to work on tobacco and cotton raising for 
the company's profit. A store was accumulated from 
these profits to pay the £10 due to each on the expiry of 
their indentures, and inspectors were appointed by the 
council to view the plantations every three months and 
see that the arrangements were working satisfactorily. 

None of the company's efforts to stop the influx of 
negroes met with any measure of success. It was 
ordained that every planter keeping a negro should 
maintain a servant one day in every week upon the public 
works. Those having no negroes were to be excused 
labour upon the public works, their places being filled by 
the negroes belonging to the company. When this 
arrangement was found of no avail, it was directed that 
to every two Englishmen upon a plantation, one negro 
might be received, but no more, and for each of these 
negroes forty pounds of tobacco was to be paid per 
annum to the company's store. In addition to this each 
negro was bound to labour sixteen days in the year on 
the public works, ''since they are cheaper and are per- 
petual servants, and the rather that the desire of English 
bodies may be kept, we depending on them for the defence 
of the island." Negroes were only to be bought from 
the Dutch on the company's account for disposal in 
Virginia and the Somers Islands, ' ' we well knowing that 
if men be left at liberty to buy as they please, no man 
will tiSke off English servants. And therefore we think 
fit that whosoever buys a Negro, shall be bound to take 



off two English servants at the common charge of 
transportation and otherwise. ' ' 

The sale of negroes to other plantations was becoming 
a very important part of the colony's activities, and both 
Capt. Newman in the Happy Return and Capt. Rudyerd 
in the Mary Hope were constantly landing captured 
negroes in the island and there disposing of them to ship- 
masters from Virginia and New England. From 1637 
onwards the traflSc between Providence and the northern 
colonies became a regular one and from Winthrop's 
journal, as well as from the Providence records, we can 
learn that William Peirce," the well-known New England 
ship-master, was a frequent visitor to the island. After 
the victory of the Massachusetts colonists over the 
Pequot Indians in July, 1637, Winthrop says:" **We 
had now slain and taken in all about seven hundred. 
We sent fifteen of the boys and two women to Bermuda 
by Mr. Peirce, but he, missing it, carried them to Provi- 
dence Isle."^' Peirce returned to New England in 
February, 1638, and Winthrop in his journal for that 
month gives us a fuller account of the island." Feb- 
ruary 26, 1638, ''Mr. Peirce in the Salem ship Desire 
returned from the West Indies after seven months and 
brought some cotton and tobacco and negroes from 
thence and salt from Tertugos." Dry fish and strong 
liquors are the only commodities for those parts. He 
met there two men-of-war set forth by the Lords of 

IS William Peirce was in command of the lAon in Winthrop 's vojage of 
1629 and was bj far the best-known master in the New England trade, in 
which he had been engaged at anj rate from 1623. Bradford's H%9i. of 
Plym. Plant, (ed. 1912), I, 309 and note 2. 

i^ Journal, I, 228 (1905 ed.). 

IB Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll, 5th series, I, 277. 

i« Journal, I, 260. 

17 This maj be either Tortuga Salada or Association. Salt was being 
made at both places in 1637. 


Providence with letters of mart, who had taken divers 
prizes from the Spaniard and many negroes.'* Some 
of the negroes sent from Providence to New England 
were very savage and had to be at once returned, for 
soon after one of Peirce's voyages we find the company 
giving special caution to Gov. Butler to take great care 
of * * the cannibal negroes brought from New England. ' * 

The company's fears of trouble arising from the large 
number of negroes in the island were only too well 
founded. Large numbers of them escaped to the woods 
covering the highest parts of the island, and great diffi- 
culties were experienced in bringing about their sub- 
mission, though those who surrendered voluntarily were 
well treated, while those who resisted were barbarously 
put to death. Matters came to a head at the end of 1638, 
when the escaped slaves in concert with those negroes 
still in servitude rose in rebellion against their masters. 
It was only with the greatest difficulty that the revolt 
was suppressed and the island was gravely weakened by 
it, for it emboldened the Spaniards from Cartagena once 
more to renew their efforts to clear out their English foes. 

As has been shown in earlier chapters, the company 
had entirely abandoned the sending of magazines to the 
island, for those sent had proved very unprofitable. 
During the later years of the colony's existence entire 
freedom of trade was permitted subject to the payment 
of customs dues to the company. These were fixed at 
a higher rate for Dutch ships than for English in order 
to comply with the royal conmiands restricting inter- 
course with the Hollanders, and for reasons which the 
company expressed thus : * * For every pound of tobacco 
the Dutch shall receive out of the island in exchange for 
any goods you require of them, vi* is to be paid there, 
and so for every pound of cotton, which are about the 
usual rates of custom paid here, and so for other com- 



modities. The customs on tobacco in Ehigland are very 
highy whereas in Holland it is low and so the Dutch can 
sell their tobacco and other commodities at a cheaper 
rate than can be obtained from commodities received 
through London, whither [the Company's] ships are 
bound to return." In order further to mark their hos- 
tility to foreign interlopers, the company ordered that 
any fort or bay having a Dutch name was to be renamed 
in English, and the Dutchmen in the island were to be 
treated very coldly. So difficult and precarious were 
trade conditions in England in 1639, that the company 
resolved to attempt to make the cloth they required for 
clothing the colonists from the cotton in the island itself ; 
weavers and spinners were hired and sent out in the 
Mary in June, 1639, with engines **to weave the cotton 
into fustians and dimities ; ' ' and it was resolved also to 
trade as much as possible with New England for the 
commodities the island required. Orders were given that 
any hides, tallow, or sarsaparilla captured by the com- 
pany's ships were to be disposed of in New England, 
whence they might be despatched through the Straits 
of Gibraltar to Mediterranean ports or to France, so as 
to save the customs and impositions in England. That 
this course was in fact adopted, we may learn from many 
entries by Massachusetts writers. 

In September, 1638, Capt. Newman sent to Massa- 
chusetts a captured Spanish frigate with hides and 
tallow," and in November he arrived there himself in 
his pinnace, the Providences^ **One Captain Newman, 
being set forth with commission from the Earl of Hol- 
land, Governor of the Westminster Company, and the 
Earl of Warwick and others of the same company, to 
spoil the Spaniard within the limits of their grant in 

i« Winthrop's Journal, I, 278. 
i» Ibid., I, 283. 


the West Indies, after he had taken many of their 
small vessels, etc., returned home by the Massachusetts 
in a small pinnace, with which he had taken all his prizes 
(for his great ship was of no use for that purpose). 
He brought many hides and much tallow. The hides he 
sold here for £17-10s. the score; the tallow at 29s the 
hundred ; and set sail for England on the 1st of Decem- 
ber." Newman's adventures after leaving Massachu- 
setts are of interest to us as involving the Providence 
Company in a lawsuit that was undecided for many years 
and was still debated long after the colony had been 

The Happy Return, Newman's larger vessel, had 
reached England safely in April, 1638, and had landed 
a cargo of tobacco, tallow, and hides to the value of about 
£4000. Sarsaparilla to the value of about £900 had been 
disposed of in New England, so that the company for 
their share got about £3000 out of the cargo. Newman 
in the pinnace Providence was sailing up the Channel 
on Christmas Day, 1638,*^ after a favourable passage 
from New England, when less than two leagues off Dun- 
geness the vessel was attacked by a Dunkirk ship, belong- 
ing to one of the principal officers of the town. Five 
sailors were wounded and three killed in the fight and 
the Providence was finally overwhelmed by force of 
numbers and compelled to surrender. The officers and 
sailors were stripped to their shirts, carried to Dunkirk 
and there tied two by two and thrust into a dungeon 
below the town ditch. The cargo of the Providence, when 
discharged, was found to comprise valuables of all 

so Manj depositions about the case exist among State Papers, Domestic, 
State Papers^ Foreign (Flanders), and the Admiralty Court records. 
Some of these have been calendared under a misapprehension as having 
to do with the great fishing company of the Earl of Pembroke that was 
also having trouble with Dunkirkers about this time. 


sorts,'^ — twenty-five packages of indigo, divers packages 
of sarsaparilla, a gold chain three ells long, a sack of 
ambergris, four diamonds, a large quantity of pearis, 
several bags of gold and silver, some silver plate, two 
large and heavy lumps of gold as heavy as a man could 
lift, the whole being of the value of about £30,000. No 
sooner had the company heard of Newman 's capture than 
they began through the Earl of Holland to move the king 
to secure his inmiediate release. Sir Balthasar Gerbier 
was directed to make the most strenuous representations 
to the Cardinal Infante, the ruler of the Spanish Nether- 
lands; Sir Arthur Hopton was ordered to do the same 
to the Spanish court, but not the least progress could 
be made, for Newman was held at Dunkirk to be **the 
greatest English pirate unhanged.'* Gerbier *s repre- 
sentations to the Cardinal Infante himself were received 
with studied rudeness, and his letters home pointed out 
that his pleadings for a notorious pirate damaged badly 
the more important negotiations he was constantly being 
charged to deal with. The only boon secured after nearly 
two years' negotiation was the release of the prisoners 
on the payment of their very heavy charges. Newman 
at once returned to his piratical exploits and from 
Winthrop" we learn that **he was afterwards cast away 
at Christopher's with a very rich prize in the great 
hyrracano, 1642." The matter of the captured cargo 
was brought before parliament in 1641," but stood still 
during the troubles, until in 1649 we find the surviving 
members of the Providence Company claiming a share 
of the value of the celebrated Spanish vessel, the Santa 

21 These details are derived from Sir Balthasar Gerbier 's representation 
to the Cardinal Infante. S. P. For. Flanders, 4 Jan., 1640. 

^^ Journal, I, 283. 

28** House of Lords, MSS.,'' Hist. MS8. Ck)m., Fourth Beport, 20 April, 
28 June, 6 July, 1641, 12 Oct., 1643. 


Clara, that had been seized in Portsmouth harbour. No 
conclusion could be arrived at and on January 25, 1650, 
the matter was left in the hands of the Bump Parliament 
to be dealt with, but apparently without result. The last 
mention of the affair is found in a petition to the 
Bestoration House of Lords in the session of 1660. 

Attempts might be made by the company to secure 
redress from the Dunkirkers, though the attempts might 
be vain, but no redress could be sought from the Algerine 
pirates, who swarmed in the Bay of Biscay and the 
entrance to the English Channel. The reinforcements 
for Providence for the year 1639 were sent out by the 
Mary, a ship belonging to the well-known merchant, 
Maurice Thompson, which was bound for Barbadoes and 
was chartered by the company for their service after 
leaving there. She carried a few servants for Provi- 
dence and one or two Puritan families under the lead 
of John Symonds, a client of Lord Mandeville, who was 
returning to his wife in Providence. Hardly had the 
Mary left the Channel (July, 1639), when she was cap- 
tured by an Algerine corsair and her passengers and 
crew carried into captivity. The first news from them 
arrived in a letter written by Symonds from Algiers in 
November, 1639, and still extant among the Manchester 
Papers." Symonds writes to Lord Mandeville to beg 
the company to ransom the poor captives from their 
slavery. ''When I considered,*' he says, **that the soul 
into which God hath distilled most grace, and [which] 
hath tasted the joys of God's spirit is ever compassion- 
ate, having a fellow feeling of the miseries of others, 

24Manch. Pap., 423, 20 Nov., 1039. The letter is very badly written 
and has been calendared (Hist. MSS. Com., Eighth Report, App. 2) as 
coming from ''Aryter most probably Henrietta "(!), a misreading of 
Argier, the seventeenth century form of the name Algiers. The pr^is of 
the letter is badly done. » 


that consoled me to trouble your Lordship humbly 
beseeching that you would commiserate the miserable 
condition of a company of poor people. We expect not 
that the honourable Company should disburse money 
for our redemption, for the sum will be great, we being 
about 30 that were shipped for the island. Bight 
Honourable, if it may be done with conveniency [we pray 
you] to move our gracious Bang in our behalf; there are 
2000 English Christians besides Benegadoes. . . . There 
are some forced to filthiness, some to despair, and so to 
turn their back upon Christ. Myself have been much 
solicited, but God hath established my heart. ... I have 
been a suitor through Mr. Carter to their honours Lord 
Saye and Lord Brooke, and the same suit I present to 
your honour. There is a gracious woman weeping, as 
I humbly beseech your Lordship to think, upon your 
poor island." Symonds's pathetic plaint did not fall 
on deaf ears, for by February, 1640, the company had 
arranged to ransom at any rate some of the captives. 

The possession by the Providence Company of per- 
mission from the crown to undertake reprisals against 
the Spaniards was a very valuable asset to them, and 
they were constantly being approached by speculators 
during the later years of their existence as a company 
for the issue of commissions for ships to undertake 
privateering voyages in the West Indies in return for 
a share of the proceeds. The company always refused 
to invest money in fitting out these privateer ships, but 
granted the desired commissions to the adventurers in 
return for a fixed payment of one-fifth part of all booty 
taken. The last ships fitted out by the company them- 
selves were two pinnaces, the Swallow and the Spy, 
despatched in July, 1638, under the command of Capt. 
Samuel Axe, his son Andrew Axe, Capt. Nicholas 


Parker,'* and Matthew Harbottle. In October, 1638, the 
Earl of Warwick, who had bought out the rights of 
Philip, Earl of Pembroke, over the islands of Trinidad, 
Tobago, St. Bernard [Fonseca], and Barbadoes," 
despatched two pinnaces to commence a plantation upon 
Trinidad, and these received from the Providence Com- 
pany commissions for reprisals against the Spaniards. 
In June of the same year a grant of incorporation was 
issued by the company to William Claiborne, the Vir- 
ginia and Maryland planter, for the settlement **of an 
island by him and his associates discovered within the 
Company's Patent to be called Rich Island in honour 
of the Earl of Holland. ' ' This was the island of Ruatan 
(Rattan), the principal of the Bay Islands, off the coast 
of Honduras ; the first settlement of the island by Eng- 
lishmen did not last long, for they were expelled by the 
Spaniards in 1642," but the connection of England with 
the Bay Islands subsisted through the eighteenth century 
and the claims to their possession were only abandoned 
some fifty years ago. 

In July, 1639, Capt. John Dell was provided with a 
commission for his ship, the Advantage, financed by 
Abraham de Lean, a prominent Huguenot merchant in 
the City of London, and some of his partners, and in 
January, 1641, there returned to England Capt. William 
Jackson with a prize richly laden with indigo, which had 
been captured under the company's commission and 
brought into their coffers over £3000. In the turmoil of 
the time Capt. Jackson's name has been entirely for- 
gotten by succeeding generations, but by the English- 
es Gapt. Parker filled an important part in later West Indian history 
and became a trusted emplojd of the Commonwealth. In 1660 he was consul 
at Algiers. 

s« Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS., 3662, fo. 45, Scott's account. 
ST Brit. Mus.y Sloane MSS., 793 or 894. Alcedo 7 Herrera, PiraterioB y 
agteuiones en la America EepaHola, Madrid, 1883, p. 123. 



man of 1642 his exploits were as proudly thought of 
as those of Drake and Hawkins. No account of his doings 
appears to have been printed, but among the Sloane 
MSS. in the British Museum there is a little manuscript 
volume entitled '^Mercurius Americanus, * '" giving a fuU 
account of the last expedition in the Elizabethan manner 
against the Spanish Indies, carried out under Jackson's 
command in 1642-1643. The account is written by an 
eyewitness of the exploits and is quite after the Hakluyt 
fashion. At some future time it may be possible to 
rescue Jackson's story from its undeserved oblivion. 
Both his voyage of 1639-1641 and the later and greater 
expedition were carried out under the Providence Com- 
pany's commission for reprisals. The first voyage was 
financed by the well-known merchant, Maurice Thompson 
of London, and some Cornish merchants interested along 
with the Killegrews in the privateering trade." Jackson 
left England some time in 1638 and obtained little success 
on his outward voyage; he put in to Providence to re- 
victual in April, 1639, while Gov. Butler was absent from 
the island and the government was vested for the time 
being in the hands of Capt. Andrew Carter. We showed 
in the previous chapter to what lengths of injustice 
Carter proceeded when the government was definitely 
vested in him, but even thus early he displayed the same 

One Robert Robins, a native of Penrhyn in Cornwall, 
had long been a planter in Providence and a prominent 
supporter of the Puritan party. Having in some way 
offended the governor, he was arrested, clapped into 

S8 Brit. Mu8., Sloane MSS., 793 or 894. 

2» << House of Lords MSS./' Hist. MSS. Com., Fourth Beport, App., p. 63. 
Lords' Journals, IV, 248. The majority of the details given in the text 
are derived from the original petition of Bobert Bobins to the House of 
Lords, 22 April, 1642, calendared very briefly, Fifth Beport, App., p. 18. 


ironSy and refused communication with his wife, servants, 
or family ; the following day, being brought before Carter, 
an order of banishment was pronounced against him 
without any trial and he was forcibly conveyed aboard 
Jackson 's ship, then lying in the harbour. The Puritan 
party of the council, hearing of Bobins's plight, ap- 
proached Carter under the leadership of Sherrard and 
HaUiead and offered to stand bail for his appearance at 
a public trial either before the council or in England 
before the company. Carter entirely refused to listen 
to them and maintained that what he had done was 
within his prerogative as governor. Jackson was then 
bound on a daring raid up the Nicaragua Biver or El 
Desaguadero, and Bobins in his own words was '4n 
fearful storms of thunder and foul weather forced to 
work, stand sentry, watch and fight, he being a prisoner. 
The pillage that he got was taken from him, also he 
suffered miserable afflictions for want of clothes by 
mosquitoes and other venomous vermin and flies, daily 
in danger of his life.'* Jackson's raid was very profit- 
able, but Bobins for all his sufferings was only granted 
a single share. **When the goods were being shared, 
one of the company, pitying his cause, promised him a 
single share, being half so much as the boys have, yet 
they had made him cook for the whole company and 
divers others, strangers and negroes, and four shares 
belonged to the cook by order of the Trinity House.'* 
Bobins was sent ashore in Providence and told to shift 
for himself, while Jackson sailed to New England to 
dispose of the booty. 

On August 27, 1639, Winthrop writes in his journal:" 
''Here came a small bark from the West Indies, one 
Captain Jackson in her, with commission from the West- 
minster Company to take prize, etc., from the Spaniard. 

^0 Journal, I, 309. 



He brought much wealth in money, plate, indico and 
sugar. He sold his indico and sugar here for £1400, 
wherewith he furnished himself with commodies and 
again departed for the West Indies. ' ' For another year 
Jackson continued his roving cruise in the Indies and 
met with very fair success, but about the end of 1640 he 
set sail for England with the large indigo-laden prize 
we have before mentioned. Robins had succeeded in 
collecting some of the debts owing to him in Providence, 
and having with great difficulty secured from Carter 
permission to leave the island, he paid for his passage 
to England on one of Thompson's ships. But his 
troubles were not yet over. **The petitioner shipped 
himself a passenger for England with one Thompson 
and delivered him his ticket*^ for his free departure out 
of the island, yet within three weeks of their being at 
sea, in the Gulf of Florida, Jackson and Thompson com- 
bined together and violently took and carried the peti- 
tioner aboard Jackson's man-of-war, kept all his goods 
and much of his clothes, gave special directions to the 
master of the ship to keep him in irons and convey him 
to New England to be hanged and his goods to be spent 
upon the seamen. Then the petitioner demanded his 
ticket, being his reUef from imprisonment, and a bill 
of lading for his goods, but Jackson and Thompson said 
he was a prisoner and should have none of them nor 
any bill of lading for them." Bobins suffered a great 
deal of misery and **was forced to eat tallow for the 
most part of his meat for a long time, which caused a 
dangerous sickness when he came ashore, being almost 
starved and naked. ' ' The vessel in which he was a pris- 
oner did not sail direct to England, but put into some 

31 The ''ticket" was a paper signed by the governor and certifying that 
the person named in it had full permission to sail for England. 


Irish port and there disposed of a large part of her 

There is no room to doubt that the Providence Com- 
pany were not being honestly dealt with by those who 
plundered the Spaniards under their commission, and 
it is certain that Jackson paid over to the company much 
less than the fifth due to them under their agreement. 
He also endeavoured to cheat some of his partners and 
the journals of the Long Parliament contain many 
references to the disputes that resulted in consequence 
of his sharp practice. Robins found it impossible to get 
redress for his wrongs either from Jackson or from '*the 
honourable Company of Adventurers into Providence in 
respect of State affairs, all of them being members of 
Parliament . . . and now,*' wrote he in 1642, **all his 
witnesses are bound to sea, and also Captain Jackson is 
bound to the West Indies on the first of April next 
[1642], so that the petitioner is likely to lose all his 
goods, suffer all their wrongs and return to his friends 
begging, in respect he can get relief in no Court in Eng- 
land, but in this hon^e House, and except your LoP" hear 
his case. * * It is to be feared that Robins got very little 
satisfaction even from the House of Lords, for though 
Lords Brooke and Robartes were appointed as a com- 
mittee to examine the matter, no conclusion was arrived 
at before England was plunged into the throes of the 
Civil War, and all good government was at a standstill. 




While the course of events in Providence and Asso- 
ciation was proving fatal to all the company's hopes of 
profit and success, their scheme for founding a pros- 
perous colony and trading post upon the mainland coast 
was flourishing no better. In 1634 a large vessel, the 
Robert, had carried out a valuable cargo of trade stuff 
to Capt. Sussex Camock, the company's agent at Cape 
Gracias a Dios, but the voyage was an entire failure, 
and when the Robert returned to England in June, 1635, 
the company were disgusted to find that Camock had 
wearied of the work he had contracted to do, and had 
returned home in defiance of all engagements/ Camock 
had left in charge of the colony Capt. Samuel Axe, who 
had done much for the company's interests while in 
charge of the depot at the Moskito Cays. Axe was well 
seconded in his efforts to carry on a successful Indian 
trade by a Dutch sailor, who had long served as mate 
in the company's ships. This Abraham Blauvelt, or 
Blewfield (Bluefield)' as the English called him, was a 
daring and resourceful sailor who was constantly under- 
taking voyages of exploration and trade up the rivers 

1 Camock left the company 's service on his return to England. In 1636 
the State Papers show us (3 June, 1636) that he became captain of Land- 
guard Fort at Harwich and there he was still serving during the early years 
of the Civil War. 

s The name is frequently spelled Bluefield or Bluefields. 


of the coasty and who has left his name permanently 
in at least two places on the map of the West Indies. 
We first hear of him as doing shipwright's work in the 
repair ships at Providence, and later bnilding shallops 
for the company from the cedar-wood that grew in pro- 
fusion in Henrietta Island. In a pinnace that he him- 
self had bnilty he began his exploration of the rivers of 
the Main, and with her he maintained communication 
between the island of Providence and the men engaged 
in preparing silk-grass at the Cape. In 1637 he returned 
to England as mate of the Expectation in order to give 
an account to the company of his explorations of the 
mainland coast. He told them that at Monkey Bay he 
had discovered a good harbour a mile and a half broad 
at the mouth and capable of strong fortification by means 
of some islands lying in its entrance. This harbour 
provided an excellent anchorage for ships, and was sur- 
rounded by fertile country overgrown with silk-grass 
and containing many other excellent commodities. Into 
the harbour flows an important river now called, after its 
discoverer, the Blewfields River and by the Spaniards 
the Escondido ; this river Blewfield explored for a consid- 
erable distance into the Main. He recommended the 
harbour to the company as a suitable place for the estab- 
lishment of a trading station and settlement, but their 
preoccupations rendered it impossible for them to act 
upon his suggestion. At a later period, however, the 
buccaneers made the harbour one of their principal 
rendezvous, and the town there established is still called 
after the name of the discoverer of the harbour, Blew- 
fields. After the capture of Providence by the Span- 
iards, Blewfield entered for a time the service of the 
Swedish West India Company, but he found privateering 
a more profitable occupation than trade, and in 1644 we 
find him commanding a ship of his own and sailing from 


New Amsterdam" to prey upon the Spaniards. At this 
time, or perhaps later, he occasionally made his head- 
quarters at a harbour in the southwest of Jamaica and 
this is still called Blewfields Bay. The publication of 
the treaty of Munster in 1648, by which the long war 
between Holland and Spain was closed, prevented him 
from bringing his prizes safely into New Amsterdam, 
and he began to dispose of them instead at Newport in 
Rhode Island. There he got into trouble with his crew 
of many nationalities and we hear of him in a letter from 
Roger Williams, who was much put about at the ill- 
name his unlawful proceedings would bring upon the 
Rhode Island colony.* We last hear of him in a list of 
buccaneers in 1663 as ** Captain Blewfield, belonging to 
Cape Gratia de Dios, Uving among the Indians.'^ ffis 
ship was a barque with fifty men and three guns.' 

The trade at the Cape, although it never attained to 
any considerable proportions, was maintained by the 
Providence Company throughout its existence, and in 
the later years, when they realised that Providence might 
at any time be overwhelmed by the Spaniards, the 
masters of their ships were instructed to carry their 
passengers to the Cape, if Providence were found to have 
been captured. In 1638 Capt. Axe described the land 
surrounding the settlement in these terms: **At the 
Cape [Gracias a Dios] there is good store of victuals, 
a good country for com, the grass not troublesome as 
in the Island, store of honey, yet not to make a com- 
modity. Reasonable store of flax, greater store at 

« O 'Callaghan, Hist, of New Neiherland, I, 296 ; New York VocumenU, 
I, 397-399. In 1650 he owned and commanded the French ship La Garse. 

4 Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll,, 4th series, VI, 272. Boger Williams to John 
Winthrop, jr., Narragansett, 25 Oct., 1649, and 9 Nov., 1649, "Here hath 
been great bickerings about Blewfield 's ship at Newport." 

BRawlinson MSS., quoted hj C. H. Haring, Buccaneers of West Indies, 
Lond., 1910, p. 273. 


Monkey Bay, but then they that gather it must go strong 
in regard of the Spanish neighbourhood." The flax after 
cutting will grow again in 6 or 7 months. As fair sugar 
canes as any in the world. The air is temperate; it 
agrees with English bodies and is very healthful; the 
soil some miles from the coast is very firm. The Cape 
River is navigable with small vessels, but the entrance 
is unhealthful in regard to the drowned grounds there- 
about, which may be avoided by going up the river at 
Many Bay for about 10 miles, which will bring one into 
the Cape River above the 'moorish" grounds. Some 
quantity of deer, good materials for brick, good trees for 
building. The only clothes requisite are linen, shoes and 
hats. Annotto thrives well and in great abundance, and 
there is plenty of cotton. The tobacco is like to exceed 
that of the island in goodness. ' ' 

Axe had been less successful than other employes of 
the company in dealing with the Indians and the only 
occasion on which we hear of any Indian fighting in the 
colony's history is soon after his taking over from 
Camock the command of the enterprise on the Main. 
The affair appears to have occurred during one of his 
exploring voyages up the Cape River and he came in for 
a very severe reproof for undertaking any hostility what- 
ever against the natives. *'We desire to receive expla- 
nations,'* wrote the company, ** concerning the slaughter 
of the Indians by the English under your command upon 
the Main. We know that the law will not take notice of 
it, yet the Lord is the avenger of blood and His justice 
will certainly requite it. Besides we are yet ignorant 

• The Spanish friars had made manj attempts to convert the Moskito 
, Indians and many had suffered martyrdom, e,g.f Fray Martinez in 1624. 
Axe's allusion may i)oint to some fresh Spanish missions on the Ascondido, 
▼. Juarros, Hiai, of Guatemala, p. 361. 

7 For ' ' mere-ish. ' ' Covered with shallow sheets of water filled with reeds. 


how the guilt of your crime may redound to the blasting 
of our own designs. We expect your defence by the next 
ship, but as the matter now stands, we cannot clear you 
from a crime of very high nature, though we do not hold 
you guilty till we hear your defence. Remember that 
the eye of God is upon you and cannot be deceived. If 
you are not able to take off the guilt of blood from your 
conscience, we advise you to humble yourself before 
the Lord by unfeigned repentance and to give pubUc 
testimonies of the truth of your humiliation. ' ' 

The chief difficulty the company had to labour against 
in carrying on both their trade at the Main and the 
plantation in Providence itself was the great disincli- 
nation of the colonists for steady and laborious work 
and their preference for the free and easy life of the 
rover, who though one day he might be starving on a 
meagre allowance of raw turtle, might the next be master 
of a rich prize of sarsaparilla or indigo that he could 
dispose of to the merchants in New England for what 
was a fabulous sum to a poor sailor. The fascination of 
this roving seems to have been almost irresistible and 
most stringent penalties had to be enacted by the com- 
pany in order to prevent their servants from stealing 
away in shallops or canoes to seek for wealth at the 
Spaniards' expense. **If any man shall offer to run 
away from the island in boats or otherwise, upon dis- 
covery of his purpose, ' ' wrote the company to the council, 
**you are to sentence him to be whipped and then to be 
laid in irons and afterwards to be condemned to per- 
petual service on the pubUc works till we give other 
order, having such reasonable food allowed him as may 
keep him in strength only. If frequent attempts are 
made, some of those so attempting are to be sentenced 
to death in order to make an example." But these 
harsh penalties proved ineffectual and the perpetual 


leakage went on, even though men learned of the hard 
fate of some of those who had escaped. On February 
15, 1639, an alarm was given from the lookout stationed 
upon Fair Way Hill that a large ship was making for 
the harbour without showing the private signal; her 
navigators were evidently strangers to Providence, for 
she fell among the narrow channels to the northwest of 
the island and was deserted by her crew. Nor were they 
in their shallops able to find their way into the harbour 
until Gov. Butler, going out in his barge to reconnoitre, 
found the vessel to be a Dutch privateer with a com- 
mission from the Prince of Orange, and guided them 
into the harbour, where they were hospitably entertained. 
Among those on board the Dutch vessel was an English- 
man, who with four companions had escaped from 
Providence long before in a shallop they had stolen by 
night in the hope of intercepting one of the small 
Guatemala frigates that crept along close in to the shores 
of the Main. But a gale springing up, they had been 
driven far from their intended course to the northward 
and their boat had been dashed to pieces on the tiny 
sandy islet of Roncador or **The Snorer,*' some ninety 
miles to the east of Providence. The islet had received 
its name from the continual noise made by the breakers, 
upon the sunken rocks surrounding it and was avoided 
by every mariner. It is quite barren and without fresh 
water, but in the breeding season is the haunt of sea- 
birds. There for two and a half years the Englishman 
had lived a miserable existence upon the fish and sea- 
fowl he caught, and the rain that gathered in the hollows 
of the rocks. One by one his companions had perished, 
and for the last ten months he was quite alone, till the 
crew of the Dutch vessel espied and rescued him. So 
striking was his deliverance thought to be after so many 
vicissitudes that Minister Sherrard could not resist the 



opportunity of pointing a moral, and the following 
Sunday at the evening service in the presence of the 
governor and council, the rescued man was introduced 
after the sermon to offer up pubUc thanksgiving for his 
deliverance, to make confession of his vicious life, and to 
register a vow of future atonement. 

The passion for wandering from island to island in 
search of an easy road to wealth is a most noticeable 
trait of the early colonists in the West Indies, and it was 
many years before the English colonies settled down 
into well-organised and stable communities. The average 
man who had once abandoned the ordinary equable course 
of his life in England in order to emigrate either to New 
England or the Caribbean must have had in him some 
latent love of adventure for its own sake, and the zest 
for novelty once having been roused was hard to quell, 
and it was difficult for him to settle down again to a life 
of monotonous toil. This restlessness is noticeable as it 
affected many among the New England colonists, but 
there the conditions of the community soon became prac- 
tically stable and the social system was after all not very 
different from what the colonists had left behind in the 
old country. The general trend of affairs in New Eng- 
land, therefore, was towards stability and so remained 
well on into the eighteenth century; in St. Christopher, 
Providence, and Barbadoes everything tended in the 
opposite direction. The climate and the surroundings 
of the settlers were entirely different from those they 
had left in England, different methods of cultivation 
must be adopted, and to secure good profits from the 
soil constant effort was necessary. Unremitting effort 
is always difficult for a white man beneath a tropical 
sun, but it was especially hard for a new-landed emigrant 
when he had before his eyes the spectacle to be seen 
daily in the houses round his harbour, where the rovers 


would congregate after their voyages to squander their 
gains in revelry and to boast of the wealth to be won 
at the Spaniards ' expense. One of the greatest masters 
of English fiction has imparted to the pages of his 
Treasure Island the glamour of this spirit of adventure 
in a way that a prosaic summing up of details and sta- 
tistics would entirely fail to do ; but even the most cursory 
reading in the records of the early seventeenth century 
must convince us that the spirit of adventure was as real 
a factor in the history of the Caribbean as it has been 
in the history of the western frontier of America. 

Just as Providence lost settlers to other colonies, so 
did it receive them; we have already mentioned the 
arrival of the minister Leverton and his followers from 
Barbadoes and Tobago, and many others migrated from 
Barbadoes to Providence at a later date. In the space 
of four months in the early part of 1639, forty-nine per- 
sons arrived from Barbadoes and twenty-seven from 
St. Christopher, besides stragglers from Virginia and 
Bermuda on their way to Claiborne's projected settle- 
ment in the Bay Islands. Tortuga had been deserted by 
the majority of its English colonists in 1637, but it did 
not remain uninhabited for long, for many of the old 
planters who had abandoned it in favour of a settlement 
upon the main island of Hispaniola soon returned and 
were joined by several Englishmen from St. Christo- 
pher. One William Smnmers* with several companions 
attempted in 1638 to found a settlement at the Great 
Salt Pan in St. Christopher on territory which had up 
to then been occupied neither by English nor French. 

8 Brit. Mas., Eg., 2395, f o. 508. An account of the early historj of St. 
Christopher by fourteen of the oldest planters, given to Gov. Stapleton in 
1675 and forwarded by him along with John Hilton's account. The covering 
letter is to be found in GoL Pap., zzxiv, No. 85. For migration of French 
stragglers to Tortuga, see Charlevoix, m, 7. 



Finding, however, that no water was to be had there 
without much labour and toil. Summers and his settlers 
determined to leave St. Christopher and to settle in the 
abandoned colony of Tortuga. By the end of 1639, 
therefore, Tortuga no longer lay deserted but was occu- 
pied by some three hundred inhabitants, mainly English, 
but with a large admixture of Frenchmen. They had 
gathered there from all parts of the West Indies and 
appointed as their governor Capt. Roger Floud, who 
had at one time been sheriff of Providence Island. Floud 
failed to give satisfaction to the colonists and they 
elected in his stead one James, who chose to call himself 
''president'' as a more fitting title than governor for the 
head of a self-governing community. Remembering the 
assistance the Providence Company had given to their 
old Association colonists in Tortuga, James wrote to 
them in 1640 to beg for a supply of arms and ammuni- 
tion, in return for which he promised that the colonists 
would pay to the company a poll-tax of so much per 
head. The active members of the company were dis- 
posed to furnish aid upon these terms and in June, 1640, 
John Pym was given a free hand to carry out all the 
necessary arrangements. This, however, he was unable 
to do before news arrived that Tortuga had fallen into 
the hands of the French* and that the English had been 

» Our authority concerning the French capture of Tortuga in 1640 is 
derived from three sources, all French. J. 6. Du Tertre, Histoire des 
Antilles Frangoises, Paris, 1667, gives original information derived from 
Hothman, the governor of Tortuga in 1650. J. B. Labat, Nouveaux Voyages 
aux Isles de I'Amirique, Paris, 1722, copies Du Tertre. P. F. X. Charlevoix, 
Histoire de VIsle de St, Domingue, Paris, 1730, bases his work on original 
sources of information in the French colonial records, see VoL II, p. 7, etc. 
Esquemeling 's celebrated History of the Buccaneers, where tested for this 
period, has proved worthless. He calls Le Vasseur ' * Le Passeur, ' ' and dates 
the capture of the island by the Spaniards in 1635, in one place in 1630, 
and in another in 1664 under D'Ogeron. The compilation had a tremendous 


According to Charlevoix, the historian of St. Domingo, 
there were four sorts of inhabitants in Tortuga in 1640, 
Buccaneers engaged in the chase, Filibusters who roved 
the sea, Habitans or planters who cultivated the soil, and 
Engages or servants, who were supplied by merchants 
of Dieppe to the planters on three-year terms. A demo- 
cratic government had been established and an English- 
man of resolution had been chosen by both English and 
French as captain ;^^ but he seized the entire power for 
the English and treated the French settlers with consid- 
erable injustice. One of them embarking secretly for 
St. Christopher there informed De Poincy, gouvemeur 
general des Isles du Vent, that the English were now 
masters of Tortuga to the oppression of the French. 
He begged assistance to seize the island for France, 
which might be done without much diflSculty. De Poincy 
had been getting into considerable trouble in France for 
nurturing Huguenots in St. Christopher and saw here 
an opportunity of getting rid of many of them by sending 
them to the assistance of their countrymen in Tortuga, 
many of whom were Huguenots. He therefore offered 

vogae in Western Europe and seems to have been got up to sell by its 
sensationalism. Early buccaneering, at any rate, was a good deal more 
prosaic than Esquemeling makes out. Two works have recently appeared 
which deal critically with the history of Tortuga, G. H. Haring, The 
Buccaneers of the West Indies in the Seventeenth Century, London, 1910, 
a work largely based on Esquemeling, and P. de Vaissidre, Saint 
Domingue, Paris, 1909, an excellent historical work dealing with the social 
life of the French colony in the eighteenth century but incidentally touching 
upon the early history of Tortuga and giving in full some original letters 
from De Poincy from the French archives. 

10 Charlevoix calls this man Willis and all subsequent writers have copied 
this from him. Du Tertre says simply: "Quelques Anglais s'y etant remis 
y ayant attir^, quelques Fran^ais, boucaniers, ils se trouverent jusqu'au 
nombre de 300, desquels un Anglais s'etait fait le chef." The Providence 
records repeatedly give the leader's name as President James. His real 
name may have been William James for Charlevoix's spelling of English 
names is very erratic, e.g. Waemaerd for Warner. 


one Le Vasseur, a companion of D 'Esnambuc in the first 
settlement of St. Christopher, liberty of conscience to 
himself and any Huguenots who would accompany him 
if he would lead the expedition. Le Vasseur, knowing 
Tortuga and its advantages, accepted the governor's 
offer and, gathering together a small force, set sail. For 
three months he remained sheltered in a small harbour 
on the Hispaniola coast some twenty miles from Tortuga 
and there he drilled his small force into something like 
discipline. On the last day of August, 1640, hearing that 
many of the English rovers were absent, he suddenly 
entered the harbour of Tortuga and landed without oppo- 
sition. He at once summoned the English to surrender 
and leave the island within twenty-four hours or no 
quarter would be given; they, staggered at the sudden 
onslaught and at the defection of the French colonists 
who at once joined Le Vasseur, gave way without striking 
a blow. The flag of the French king was hoisted over 
the primitive fort and thenceforward Tortuga remained 
in French hands." The conquest was more important in 
reality than it appeared, for from this modest beginning 
sprang the greatest French colony of the eighteenth 
century, the * ' Saint Domingue * ' that was the richest and 
best cultivated of the West Indian islands. 

11 The Spaniards again attacked Tortuga in 1643 and 1654 but were both 
times repulsed. 


The intimate accord that had subsisted throughout the 
early years of Massachusetts' history between the colo- 
nists and the English Puritan leaders, was first dis- 
turbed by the reply of the colony's leaders to Saye's 
propositions for government in 1636. A slight, but grad-^ 
ually widening, estrangement began to divide the two^ 
branches of Puritans, and aided by many causes this| 
estrangement had by the end of 1638 rendered the Puri- ' 
tan leaders in England almost as hostile to the ruling > 
oligarchy in Massachusetts as were King Charles andj 
Archbishop Laud. The constitutional development of/ 
the colony had been all in the direction of an intolerant = 
theocracy and this growth in the power and influence 
of divines like Peters and Cotton, was profoundly dis- 
tasteful to the thorough Erastian English spirit of Saye, 
of Brooke, and of Pym. Convinced Puritans as they ' 
were, they were not Separatists in the least, for though 
they hated Laud bitterly for his narrow ecclesiasticism, 
they hated him far more for his innovations in the semi- 
Calvinism of that Elizabethan Church of England in 
which they had been brought up and to which they were 
deeply attached. The rule of ecclesiastics has never 
been palatable to Englishmen, and the harsh dogmatic 
government of the archbishop was not only in itself a 
mediaeval anachronism in the seventeenth century, but 
was also profoundly foreign in temper to the com- 
promise-loving English country gentlemen, who, whether 
Puritan or Arminian, liked a parson well enough only 
as long as he knew his place and did not dictate to his 


betters. In Massachusetts matters were entirely dif- 
ferent; almost all those passing to the colony in its 
earlier years were moved by religious fervour and looked 
up to their ministers as messengers of Heaven ; the rulers 
of the colony were profoundly religious men in whom, 
with the exception of Winthrop, the religious spirit was 
deeply tinged with fanaticism. Everything, therefore, 
tended to exalt the ministers' power in the community 
and, as always, clerical rule was wielded with a ruthless 
dogmatism and a hard logic that were fatal to com- 
promise or tolerance. The attack on Gov. Winthrop 'a | 
administration^ in 1636 for its lenity and remissness^ 
was submitted for adjudication to the three principal 
ministers of the colony, who practically forced him to 
admit his error and administered to him a severe admo- 
nition to observe greater strictness of discipline in the 
future. Young Henry Vane, who succeeded to the gov- 
ernorship in 1636, found his position untenable owing 
to the bitterness and intolerance of the theological dis- 
putes of the ministers with the Antinomians. So out of 
tune with the ruling oligarchy did he find himself that 
at the election of 1637 he was excluded from the govern- 
ment and left Massachusetts for England in August of 
the same year. 

Vane's report to his friends in England of his Ameri- 
can experiences must have done much to add to the 
estrangement already existing and have aided in con- 
vincing the leaders that it would be well to divert future 
emigrants towards Providence, if possible, rather than 
to allow them to strengthen further the aggressive com- 
munity in New England that had already diverged so 
far from the good old type of English society. It was 
this aim of diversion that actuated Pym and his fellows 

1 Doyle, Puritan Colonies, 1, 128 ; Osgood, The American Colonies in the 
Seventeenth Century, 1, 238*246. 


in the final reconstruction of the Providence Company, 
as is shown in Moundef ord 's letter to D'Ewes,* and 
many persuasions were brought to bear on ministers and 
emigrants proceeding to New England to urge them to 
change their direction and sail to the Caribbean. The 
success obtained in procuring emigrants for Providence 
was very small, but the tide of emigration to New Eng- 
land began in 1637 to slacken, and we may justly attribute 
some part of this slackening to the efforts of the Puritan 
leaders and their friends. These efforts of course became 
immediately known to the rulers of Massachusetts and 
lUtfffaUf embittered their feelings against their old 
kW^' They consequently resolved as a set-off to accede 
to the prayers of the extreme Puritan party in Provi- 
dence for assistance against their governor and the 
demands of the company. That communications between 
the colonies were frequent from 1638 onwards, we have 
already seen, and that assistance against their enemies 
was sought by the Providence Puritans we can learn 
both from the records and from Winthrop's journal. In 
June, 1639, the company wrote to Gov. Butler urging him 
to take away all occasion for breach with the New Eng- 
land churches and expressing the hope that **they like- 
wise of New England will carry themselves moderately, 
be content with their own freedom and leave others to 
theirs. ' ' 

The bitterness of the Massachusetts rulers against 
those who disparaged the colony, was the greater in 
these years, 1639-1640, because many causes in the colony 
itself were tending to discourage the settlers and per- 
suade them to abandon the enterprise. The falling off 
of emigration, the long conflict over the Antinomian 
heresy, ending in the expulsion among scenes of hardship 
of Mrs. Hutchinson and her followers, the disputes over 

2 See p. 249. 



boundaries in which Massachusetts became involved 
because of her claims under her charter, the constant 
dangers to be apprehended from the Indian tribes, 
Pequots, Narragansetts, and Mohegans, the incessant 
strain of labour against the hard New England winters, 
the exhaustion of the supplies that had been brought 
from England, and the almost utter absence of money to 
procure more, — all these causes had produced in the 
minds of many of the Massachusetts colonists feelings 
of the deepest depression and a conviction that after all 
they had been deluded in fancying that God had directed 
them to New England as the ** promised land.'" Those » 
who gave way to these counsels of despair found a rally- 
ing point in the person of one of the earliest leaders of; 
the Massachusetts enterprise, John Humphry. We have 
already said something of Humphry's earlier career; 
in the colony he had always stood to a certain extent 
aloof from the rest of the ruling group, and Cotton in • 
his reply to Lord Saye 's proposals of 1636 tells us* that ' 
Humphry was the only freeman of the colony who was , 
not a member of a church. This lack of church member- 
ship, Cotton puts down to the unsettledness of the place 
where Humphry lived at Saugus, but the excuse seems 
very weak when we realize that Saugus lies only a very 
few miles from either Boston or Salem. Humphry had 
reached Massachusetts with higher hopes and far more 
resources than most of his fellows, but he had failed in 
his struggle with the conditions of New England, and 
had sunk lower and lower in estate until he was com- 
pelled in 1638 to beg from the Court of Assistants 
pecuniary help to tide him over his difficulties. His first 
application was favourably received, but on a second 

8 Cf . strong) ' ' A Forgotten Danger to the New England Colonies, * * 
Report, American Historical Association, 1898, 79-81. 
4 Hutchinson, Hist, of Mass, Bay, I, 498. 


appeal the court refused to do anything, probably at the 
motion of Endecott. There was some ill will between 
the two men, for later we find Humphry bringing certain 
charges against Endecott at Salem and being compelled 
to withdraw them/ 

It had been suggested in the colony that in view of the 
slackening of emigration it would be well to employ an 
agent in England to secure men or money, or both, and 
for this service the employment of Humphry had been 
suggested, but against the whole plan Endecott pro- 
tested most strongly to Gov. Winthrop. He wrote late in 
1639:* **For the project for an agent or agents to be 
employed by the country or council to procure men or 
money or both for us from England, we (submitting to 
better judgments) think it may prove more hurtful than 
helpful to us in divers ways. For first it will confirm 
my Lord Say and others of his judgment that New Eng- 
land can no longer subsist without the help of Old 
England, especially they being already informed of the 
forwardness of divers amongst us to remove to the West 
Indies because they cannot here maintain their fami- 
lies. . . . Touching the persons, some of them, who are 
thought to be most fit to be employed in this design, I 
do think [them] most unfit. In general take notice that 
they are men well affected to the West Indies. ' * 

The idea of migration to the Caribbean was making 
so great a headway among the Massachusetts colonists 
at this time as to cause the greatest uneasiness among 
their leaders, who put down the whole cause of the 
unrest to Lord Saye and the rest of the Providence 
Company.^ So strong were the expressions of feeling 

^ Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll,, 4th series, VII, 145 ; see also, VII, 96. 

6 Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll, 4th series, VI, 138. 

7 This projected migration has been dealt with by Strong in the article 
already noted. 



among the members of the Court of Assistants on the 
subject of these disparagements that in March, 1640, 
Gov. Winthrop wrote personally to Lord Saye a. strong 
letter of protest.* The letter itself is not extant, but it 
drew forth a lengthy reply from Saye, which has been 
preserved for us among the Winthrop Papers." Saye 
begins his letter by reproving Winthrop for taking God's 
name in vain. He says : * * I received a letter from you 
dated the 20th of March wherein upon hearsay you fall 
into a reproof of me backed with intimations that I may 
expect and fear judgments, as the ten princes of Israel 
found, for bringing up an ill-report upon your land and 
diverting men's intentions from coming to you, as they 
did the Israelites from going into the land of Canaan. 
. . . For the matter itself, the substance of what you 
charge me with, is that my authority (which you advance 
as very effectual) hath diverted many from coming to 
you and cast their affections another way. . . . Why 
should you or any other man be grieved that men follow 
their own judgments in transporting themselves when 
it is free for them so to do, . . . why am I so sharply 
dealt withal for speaking that which is a truth in my 
judgment to any that shall advise with mef But you 
will say I disparage that plantation to advance another : 
it is meet for him that will judge, to hear both sides first 
and to be sure of his grounds : if you knew how falsely 
and basely that other plantation of Providence hath been 
disparaged by those affected to yours for the end for 

« Winthrop 'b Journal, I, 335. 

9 Lord Saye and Sele to John Winthrop, 9 July, 1640. Mass. Hist. Soc. 
Coll, 5th series, I, 297, and Life of Winthrop, II, 248, and App. VIII, p. 422. 
Saye wrote his letter among the most pressing distractions, for he and the 
other Puritan leaders were at the time deep in secret negotiations with the 
Scots, carried on through Henry Darley. The celebrated letter from the 
associated peers to the Gonvenanters is dated July 8, see Gardiner's Fall 
of Monarchy, I, 402. 


which you suspect I had done the like to you, then you 
would better know where to place and apply your 
reproof. For my part, my prayers have been and shall 
be for the good and advancement of those faithful people 
and pure churches I know to be there; and to that very 
end have I, according to my judgment, persuaded men 
to think of a more southerly part of that continent where 
they might find a commodious place for such a body as 
they already are, and are likely to grow into quickly by 
accession of those who would there come unto them, or 
they would be able to bring unto them if poor, by the 
ability that such places would afford them/' Saye 
evidently here alludes to Pym's project for the great 
mainland colony at Cape Gracias a Dios that had so 
gripped the imaginations of all the Providence leaders. 
That his aims were not centred on Providence alone, 
we can see from his following sentence which, approxi- 
mating closely to the unpalatable truth, greatly roused 
Winthrop's ire. **Now [the Massachusetts colonists] 
are so placed that rich men grow poor, and poor men, 
if they come over, are a burden, the rich only maintain- 
ing the market for a time until that be spent which they 
bring out of England, which land flood will have an 
end. ... In a place where staple commodities already 
are, and the soil and climate known to be fit to produce 
the richest and thereby to carry on so great a work as 
the framing of a commonwealth and the settling thereof 
for posterity, there will be no place for this [impoverish- 
ment] and by this, I hope also, I shall not be thought to 
have a little island and the advancement thereof only in 
my contemplation in all this proposition. ' ' 

Saye went on to suggest that God had appointed 
Massachusetts only for a temporary abiding place and 
did not mean His people to settle there forever, but into 
these arguments and his reiteration of the objections to 



the system of government of the colony as set forth by 
Cotton, we need not follow him, for in his prediction of 
a prosperous future for the colony on the Main, he had 
laid himself open defenceless to Winthrop 's retort. The 
full text of this does not appear to have been preserved, 
but upon the back of Saye 's letter Winthrop jotted down 
a few heads for his answer and its general purport may 
be conjectured with fair probability/^ He would protest 
against the lords taking Humphry and other broken men 
as reliable guides as to the condition of affairs in Massa- 
chusetts, for they had already nm through their estates 
by bad management and had everything to hope for from 
a new start. Gurdon and Darley could bear witness to 
Humphry 's poor financial position. It was notorious that 
the Providence planters were terribly discontented with 
their position and prospects, not only from a material 
point of view, but also from that of religion ; Gov. Butler 
was quite alien in sympathy to earnest Puritans and the 
constant struggles between the minister and the governor 
were well known in New England. It was all very well 
for Lord Saye to talk of the staple commodities of the 
Main and their richness, but it would be diflScult for him 
to point out one whereby the planters might make a 
decent livelihood. If the West Indies offered so fine a 
field for colonisation and for the investment of capital, 
why was it that the lords of Providence themselves had 
already sunk almost £120,000 without any material 
return! — a final question that with its bit of pardonable 
exaggeration must have been a hard nut for Saye and 
his friends to crack. 

10 The complete endorsement is as follows: (Mass. Hist. Soc. CoU,, 
5th series, I, 303), ''To my Lo: Brooke that their estates were gone already. 
Ask Mr. Gurdon, Dr. Darley, etc., what is borne of them. Mr. [illegible]. 
What content those have who be there. What Governor they [illeg.] with 
[illeg.] . What staple commodities for livelihood. What is become of their 


Every effort was made by the governor and the ruling 
powers in Massachusetts to dissuade those colonists who 
thought of abandoning New England, and we can per- 
ceive the line which their arguments took in Winthrop's 
own words in his journal :" **Many men began to enquire 
after the southern parts, and the great advantages sup- 
posed to be had in Virginia, the West Indies, etc., made 
this country to be disesteemed of many, and yet those 
countries (for all their great wealth) have sent hither 
both this year [1640] and formerly for supply of clothes 
and other necessaries, and some families have forsaken 
both Providence and other [of] the Caribbee Islands 
and Virginia to come live here. And though our people 
saw what meagre, unhealthful countenances they brought 
hither, and how fat and well-liking they became soon, 
yet they were so taken with the ease and plenty of those 
countries as many of them sold their estates here to 
transport themselves to Providence. . . . Some consid- 
erations were proposed to them by the Court, which 
diverted some of them and made others to pause upon 
three points especially: 

1. How dangerous it was to bring up an ill-report 
upon this good land, which God had found out and given 
to His people and so to discourage the hearts of their 
brethren, etc. 

2. To leave a place of rest and safety to expose 
themselves, their wives and children, to the anger of a 
potent enemy, the Spaniard. 

3. Their subjection to such governors as those in 
England shall set over them, etc. Notwithstanding these 
considerations divers of them persisted in their resolu- 
tions and set about to get some ship or bark to transport 

11 Winthrop's JourtuU, 1, 333. 



So firmly had some of the colonists set their minds 
upon abandoning Massachusetts^ that two of them, 
Elijah Goose and Enmianuel Truebody, surreptitiously 
sailed for England to lay their views before the Provi- 
dence Company and to arrange with them for the migra- 
tion of a large number of New Englanders to the 
mainland of Cape Gracias a Dios, there to join in the 
building up of Pym's great English colony. The Provi- 
dence leaders were only too pleased to receive an acces- 
sion of settlers to their plantations, especially seeing 
that the new emigrants were strong Puritans who dis- 
liked the aggressively theocratic temper of Massa- 
chusetts' rulers. The reports of the state of affairs 
in Providence brought by Sherrard and Halhead and 
the other prisoners sent home by Capt. Carter, showed 
the company what a mistake they had made in appointing 
to the governorship a man like Capt. Butler; they 
resolved, therefore, to appoint as governor John 
Humphry, the leader of the new colonists, and to give 
him the fullest power over all their West Indian pos- 
sessions, thus endeavouring to secure success by a return 
to the regime of a strongly Puritan governor and council. 

Though Humphry found comparatively little diffi- 
culty in negotiating with the Providence Company, his 
arrangements with those desiring to leave New England 
proved a great deal harder to make. From a letter 
written by him to Lord Mandeville, that is still extant 
among the Manchester Papers,^* we learn that he had 
persuaded between two and three hundred persons to 
leave Massachusetts with him. Although certain Provi- 
dence planters had come to New England to paint the 
beauties and richness of Central America to recruits, 
neither they nor Humphry could prove to the emigrants 
that Cape Gracias a Dios was the best site for their new 

12 No. 424. 


colony. Most of them had fixed their minds upon Florida 
for their home^ and it was only when Humphry was able 
to promise them free transportation on two ships hired 
by Emmanuel Truebody at the Providence Company's 
expense^ and to assure them of assistance in disposing 
of their surplus property in New England, that he suc- 
ceeded finally in fixing their goal. Every possible 
obstacle was placed in their way by the Massachusetts 
rulers, and Fate herself proved unkind. We learn from 
Winthrop *8 journal that : ' ' Mr. Humphry, who was now 
for Providence with his company, [and had] raised an 
ill-report of this country, was here kept in spite of all 
their endeavours and means to have been gone this winter 
[1640], and his com and hay to the value of £160 were 
burnt by his own servants, who made a fire in his bam, 
and by gunpowder, which accidentally took fire, consumed 
all.** However, at length, in May, 1641, the first party 
of emigrants, thirty men, five women, and eight children, 
left Boston for Providence in two small vessels under 
the command of Capt. William Peirce, being followed 
by Humphry with the main party in July. 



The negotiations between the Providence Company and 
Truebody and Humphry had been conducted, not by Pym, 
but by Lord Mandeville, with the help and concurrence 
of Saye. Pym, who had been the moving spirit in the 
company for so long, had since the opening of the Short 
Parliament become so immersed in the direction of the 
struggle against absolutism that he could no longer spare 
time to carry forward his colonial schemes. Battle had 
at last been joined between two worthy foemen, the 
aristocrat, Strafford, fresh from the triumphs of his 
''Thorough" policy in Ireland, and the old parliament 
man, once more treading his familiar ground and 
determined to stake his life and all. With the closing 
of the Short Parliament all hopes of compromise between 
them were at an end, and Pym 's energies throughout the 
summer and autumn months of 1640 were devoted to the 
organisation of the first electoral campaign that England 
had ever seen. His journeys from end to end of the 
country, his constant immersion in a tortuous web of 
intrigue that at any moment might lead him to the block, 
rendered all thoughts of Providence impossible and it 
was left to other hands to carry on the work. Warwick 
was devoting a great share of his attention to other West 
Indian schemes, and both he and Saye were in constant 
parley with the Scots, but Mandeville was still com- 
paratively free and the Providence work fell to his 


While the inevitable march of events towards an open 
struggle between king and people demanded the entire 
concentration of Pym's efforts, and thus deprived the 
Providence Company of his guidance at a critical 
moment, the fate that they had so long courted was 
hastening to overwhelm the Providence colonists. Their 
depredations upon Spanish towns and shipping, cuhni- 
nating in Butler's ransom of Truxillo, had at last reached 
such a pitch of audacity as to goad the Spanish authori- 
ties to the determination that Santa Catalina must be 
cleared of its pirate inhabitants at whatever cost. The 
failure of the attack of 1635 had been so great a dis- 
appointment as to demand the serious attention of the 
government at Madrid, in spite of its many preoccupa- 
tions with the European situation. Special orders were 
issued to the Council of War, the Council of the Indies, 
and the Council of State to deliberate together and to 
determine on some means of redeeming the failure. The 
conclusions arrived at were recorded on December 11, 
1636,^ and though it was long before they were acted 
upon, they were the authority on which future action 
was taken, and therefore concern us. Two of the con- 
clusions, voiced by the Duke d 'Albuquerque and the 
Duke de Villahermosa, did little to help on matters, but 
the third, voiced by the Count del Castrillo, was more 
practical. The best moment for the expulsion of the 
pirates had passed since they had not taken advantage 
of the great military preparations to clear the Indies, 
when the Dutch were attacked at the battle of Curagao. 
Funds were lacking for further preparations directed 
from Spain, so that it appeared to be the best course to 
give the governors of Cartagena, Panama, and Porto 
Bello a free hand to try and dislodge the English pirates 
with the means at their disposal and when there seemed 

I Brit. MuB., Venezuela Papers, Add. MSS., 36323, f o. 297. 


a likely probability of success. If the English were dis- 
lodged from Santa Catalina they would move on to some 
other undefended island, as they had done in past years, 
and would return to their original fastness when the 
danger was past. The only way of preserving Spanish 
rights intact was to maintain a great fleet in the Carib- 
bean, ready for instant employment wherever required. 

In these last words the whole root of the matter is 
expressed; it was impossible for the governors of the 
Indies to do anything effectual to clear out the foreigners, 
who had settled down on the Antilles like a plague of 
locusts, and who were swept from one place only to 
appear in another. Nothing but a great and powerful 
fleet, permanently stationed in the Indies and with some 
of its vessels constantly at sea, could effect the colossal 
task, but this fleet it was impossible for the impoverished 
Spanish government to supply. It has been the fashion 
among some writers to deride the Spanish colonial gov- 
emment and to accuse its officials of slothful ineptitude 
for their incapacity to maintain intact the inflated pre- 
tensions of the monarchy of PhiUp H, but nothing can 
in reality be more unjust. To guard the whole of a 
hemisphere would be too gigantic a task for any nation, 
and it is rather a tribute to the Spanish genius that the 
Castilian monarchy was able to maintain its American 
empire in the main untouched, than an occasion for 
derision that some of the smaller unoccupied islands on 
the edge of the Caribbean should have been lost to the 

The whole of the years 1637-1638 were occupied in 
Spain in the preparation of a great fleet for the supreme 
eflPort to recapture Brazil from the Dutch, and every 
Spanish or Portuguese vessel that could be spared was 
pressed into the service, special care being taken that 
ships, men, and stores should all be of the highest quality. 


The fleet sailed from Lisbon in October, 1638,' and 
further reinforcements were despatched in January, 
1639; but the Spanish government dared not weaken 
further their own coasts, owing to the constant fear of 
French attacks in the Bay of Biscay. Under these cir- 
cumstances it was evident that nothing could be done 
towards the establishment of the required fleet in the 
Caribbean, and orders were therefore despatched to the 
governors of San Domingo and Cartagena to do the best 
they could against Santa Catalina with the means at 
their command. Nothing could be attempted till the 
summer of 1640," when Don Melchior Aguilar, governor 
and captain general of the province of Cartagena, profit- 
ing by the arrival in that port of some reinforcements 
from Brazil, despatched Don Antonio Maldonado y 
Tejada, his sergeant-major, with eight hundred soldiers 
from the garrison and two hundred negroes from the 
local militia on board six frigates and a galleon of the 
armada. The expedition left Cartagena in May, 1640, 

estate Papers, Foreign, Spain, Bundle XL, No. 150, Hopton to Coke. 
Also Hopton to Coke, 23 Jan., 1639, and other letters of about the same date. 

sThe information on the Spanish side concerning the attacks on Provi- 
dence can be derived from three sources: 

1. Alcedo 7 Herrera, Pirater%a$ y agressianea en la America Eepaiiola, 
edited by P. Zaragoza. Madrid, 1883. A very scrappy compilation from 
the eighteenth century works of A. de Alcedo and from Herrera 's DeeadM, 

2. Oesareo Fernandez y Dure, Armada Eepadola, 9 vols., Madrid, 1898. 
See tom. IV, 339. The most recent history of the Spanish navy. 

3. Joe6 Wangnmert y Poggio, Bl Almirante Don Franeiioo DioM 
Pimienta y su Epoca, Madrid, 1905. An enthusiastic appreciation of 
the admiral based upon, and giving long quotations from, the original 
sources. For the capture of Providence these are: 

a. "Carta 6 informaci6n enviada por D. Juan Bitrian de Briamonte, 
29 de Junio de 1640. ' ' Coleceion Navarrete, tomo zxv. 

b. Memorial originally in the Chapel of the Pimienta family at Palma 
in the Canaries and now in the collection of the Marquis de Gkiisla y 

c. A relation of the battle of Sa. Catalina, printed at Madrid in 
1642 by Juan Sanchez and at Seville by Francisco Lyra. 



and reaching Providence on Thursday, May 28, spent 
some time in attempting to find a passage through the 
shoals that form a barrier round the island/ Failing 
in this, attempts were made to reach the shore in shallops, 
and on May 30 the Spaniards succeeded in landing a 
large party of their best soldiers. Again and again were 
the island forts assaulted, but all attempts were unsuc- 
cessful and the attacking party was defeated in a pitched 
battle with great loss. Very few of the Spaniards suc- 
ceeded in escaping to their ships, and finally on June 1, 
a gale springing up, the galleon and her consorts, which 
could find no safe anchorage, had to abandon the attack 
and return to Cartagena, having lost, either slain or 
taken prisoners, more than a hundred men and two 
captains. The rejoicings in Providence at the repulse 
of the attack were naturally great, and Thursday, June 
11, was set apart as a day of thanksgiving for the great 
deliverance, but Gov. Carter marred his victory by put- 
ting to death the Spanish prisoners he had taken, though 
their lives had been promised them. It was the protest 
of Sherrard, Leverton, Halhead, and Lane against this 
cruelty that caused the governor *s final excess of tyr- 
anny, which culminated in their despatch to England as 
prisoners in irons. 

Maldonado returned to announce his discomfiture at 
Cartagena just as the armada for the silver had arrived 
from Spain under the command of Admiral Don Fran- 
cisco Diaz de Pimienta. Pimienta was a man of great 
energy of character, who has earned for himself a con- 
siderable name in Spanish naval annals; leaving his 
vessels for their usual lengthy stay at Cartagena, he set 

4 A very full account of the attack and its repulse was sent home to the 
company in a sixteen-page letter signed by Henry Halhead, Bichard Lane, 
Hope Sherrardy and Nicholas Leverton. It has been preserved among the 
Finch MSS.y VoL I, pp. 51-58, Hist. MSS. Ck>mm., Seventeenth Bepart. 


out in a swift barque for Spain to lay the state of affairs 
before the king and to demand permission to retrieve 
the dishonour to the Spanish arms. The permission thus 
demanded in person by a captain of Pimienta's merit 
could not be refused^ and he was ordered to return 
immediately to the Indies and to dislodge the corsairs 
of Santa Catalina in the time that would elapse before 
the galleons had to commence their return to Spain with 
their precious freight. Pimienta lost no time and before 
the end of 1640 he was back in Cartagena^ careening his 
ships, discipUning his infantry, and preparing his plans 
for the coming attack. It was evident to him that his 
task would be no easy one, for he was able to gather 
full information as to the strength of Providence from 
the Spaniards who had been permitted to land there from 
time to time. Fugitives from Spanish justice could find 
their most secure harbourage among the corsairs to whom 
their information as to local conditions was of much 
value, but they were always ready to make their peace 
with their own government, if they could do so at the 
price of their knowledge of the corsairs* retreats. One 
of the colonists ' greatest complaints against Qov. Butler 
was that he so often permitted Spanish pilots to come 
ashore in Providence and thus allowed them to glean 
full information as to the defences of the island. From 
spies of this sort Pimienta learned that Providence was 
armed with fifty-six great pieces of artillery and one 
hundred and forty-eight smaller pieces disposed in 
fourteen forts and entrenched defences; there were 
about six hundred men capable of bearing arms. Feel- 
ing in Cartagena was excited in the highest degree on 
learning of the treacherous slaughter of the prisoners 
taken from Maldonado, and of the presence in Santa 
Catalina in strict confinement of several friars, who had 
been captured while proceeding in frigates on missionary 


journeys along the coast. For three months Pimienta 
diligently made his preparations and his biographer 
waxes eloquent over the earnest religious and crusading 
spirit in which these preparations were undertaken, his 
hatred against the natural enemies of his nation, and 
the care with which he had enquired into the hydro- 
graphic conditions of the island and with which he had 
organised his supplies. On the 6th of May, 1641, the 
expedition sailed from Cartagena, numbering in all two 
thousand men. The admiral was embarked in the galleon 
San Juan of four hundred tons, because she drew little 
water ; his second in command, Don Jeronimo de jeda, 
sailed in the Urea Sanson of nine hundred tons, and 
accompanying them were the Jesus Maria de Castilla 
(four hundred tons), the Santa Anna (three hundred 
and fifty tons), the Urea de S. M. San Marcos (four 
hundred tons), the Convoy (three hundred tons), the 
Teatina (three hundred tons), the Jesus Maria de Ajuda 
(two hundred and thirty tons), the San Pedro, and three 
pataches of from seventy to eighty tons apiece. On the 
17th of May, the armada first saw Santa Catalina, but 
it was not till two days later that attempts were made 
to penetrate the surrounding reefs. After sounding a 
passage in shallops, the vessels cast anchor within the 
outermost fringe of reefs at nine o 'clock on the morning 
of Whitsunday. The Urea Sanson galleon, however, 
found that her draught was too great to enter even the 
outermost channel and she was therefore sent back to 
Cartagena. Pimienta was not content to entrust the 
reconnoitring of the island to a subordinate and set out 
himself with his most experienced captains in a felucca 
to try whether with the aid of a Moorish corsair, who 
had visited the island in a French vessel, it was possible 
to find a way into the harbour. The Moor proved a use- 
less guide, but a Spaniard, who had long acted as pilot 


to the Providence ships and had lately fled from them 
to Jamaica, was sent to the admiralty by the governor 
of that island, and nnder his guidance Pimienta and the 
Conde de Castimellor with a force of some six hundred 
soldiers in nineteen lighters finally succeeded in effect- 
ing a landing on the 24th. 

The spot chosen for the landing lay in the southeast of 
the island and was guarded only by earthworks. . Fierce 
fighting took place round these works, but the English 
defenders were finally dislodged and took refuge in the 
hills. Neglecting to pursue them, Pimienta marched 
across the island to New Westminster and laid siege to 
the governor's house and the church, which were held 
by a few musketeers. These were unable to hold out 
for long against the overwhehning odds, and amid great 
rejoicings on the part of the Spaniards, their defenders 
were forced to surrender and the Dominican friars, who 
had been held captive in the island for three years, were 
set free. The remaining Englishmen with most of the 
women and children had taken refuge in the citadel-like 
peninsula that juts out from the northern part of the 
island, but in face of the great numbers arrayed against 
them, they willingly agreed to lay down their arms when 
Pimienta sent one of the Uberated friars to them under 
a flag of truce to promise them their Uves. Gov. Carter, 
Sergeant Major Hunt, and others of the principal Eng- 
lish officers came in person to thank the admiral for his 
clemency and to deliver up possession of the remaining 
forts of the garrison. 

On the 26th of May, solenm high mass was celebrated 
and a festal Te Deum was sung in the town square of 
New Westminster as a thanksgiving for victory in the 
presence of the whole of the Spanish force and of the 
four hundred captured heretics. Some of the English, 
who had fled to the woods at the first Spanish landing. 


had managed to make their escape in shallops to Hen- 
rietta and the Main, bnt almost all the principal colonists 
had been captnred, and these were sent prisoners on 
board the fleet to be carried to Cartagena and thence to 
captivity in Spain. The women and children were per- 
mitted to take away a few of their personal belongings, 
and were placed on board an English ship and despatched 
to England. Nearly six hundred negroes and a great 
booty of goldy indigo, and cochineal, fell into the hands 
of the captors and the total worth of the prize was esti- 
mated at over half a million ducats. No attempt had 
been made to bring the ships into the harbour in view 
of the narrowness of the passage and of the disaster to 
the Jesus Maria de Ajuda, which, in attempting to find 
a safe anchorage, struck upon a sunken rock and was 
lost. The island was left under the command of Don 
Jeronimo de Ojeda with thirty-two pieces of artillery, 
many gunners, and some infantry, and the armada set 
sail for Cartagena, which was reached on the 6th of 
June, amid great rejoicings. The galleons of the plate 
fleet with Pimienta in command left Porto Bello on the 
9th of July and reached Cadiz on the 7th of October 
with the English prisoners on board. The news of the 
capture soon got abroad in Spain and was received with 
the greatest satisfaction, but no official notice of the 
details of the fight was issued till the early part of 1642, 
when, in reward for his exploit, the king conferred upon 
Pimienta the habit of the Military Order of the Knights 
of Santiago. A full account of the battle was published 
in folio at Madrid and Seville*^ and it is from this account 
that most of the foregoing details have been derived. 

B Belaoidn del tuoeso que tuvo en la tela de Santa Caialina 6 de la Provi- 
dencia el Almirante D. FrancUeo Viae Pimienta en que se da cuenta de 
cofno la i<mi6 d los enemigos ech&ndolos de ella y de la eatimaei&n de loe 
deapojoe y nUmero de prieioneros. Madrid, folio, 1642. 


Pimienta's sister in commemoration of his success 
ordered a picture of the battle to be painted from the 
descriptions of eyewitnesses, and placed this picture in 
the chapel of Santa Anna, the patron saint of the 
Pimienta family, in the parish church of Palma in the 
Canaries. An account of the battle was deposited among 
the archives of the church, but this has now found its 
way into private hands. 

The outlook of Englishmen upon the capture was from 
a different standpoint and it would probably have caused 
greater stir had not men's minds been so disturbed and 
the country been arming for imminent civil war. The 
newsmongers, however, were not entirely silent on the 
matter and in March, 1642, the news appeared in print 
along with other miscellaneous information. The news- 
letter is now among the Thomason Tracts;* under the 
title, ''Avisoes from several Places,** it tells us of Car- 
tagena : ' ' The General of the galleons, named Francisco 
Diaz Pimienta, had been formerly in the month of July 
[sic] with above 3000 men and the least of his ships in 
the Island of Santa Catalina, from which he had taken 
and carried away all the English and razed the Forts, 
wherein they found 600 negroes, much gold and indigo, 
so that the prize is esteemed worth above half a milUon. 
This unexpected and undeserved act of the Spaniard in 
supplanting our Nation, will, I hope, ere long be requited 
when as in cool blood the Spaniard shall do us a mischief 
in demolishing and ruining that which another hath 
built and is not able or will not make use of it himself, 
supplanting our more industrious people, which en- 
deavoured to do good both to the bodies and souls 
of men, and only to shew his greatness with his multitude 
to destroy a handful and to account that a victory which 

• Thomason Tracts in Brit. Mus. (E. 141.10), "A letter [for N. Butter] 
from the Low Countries. 22 March, 164)^" 


is rather a credilous [sic] treachery, but let him triumph 
that wins at last.'' 

In our previous chapter we left the colonists from New 
England setting forth in two small vessels, the Salutation 
and the Sparrow of Salem, for what they expected to be 
their new home in the West Indies. They arrived at 
St. Christopher early in June, 1641, and we may let 
Winthrop take up the thread of their story, for he must 
have received it from their own lips i' * 'At Christopher's 
they heard that a great fleet of Spanish ships was 
abroad, and that it was feared they had taken Provi- 
dence, so as the master, Mr. Peirce, a godly man and 
most expert mariner, advised them to return and offered 
to bear part of the loss. But they not hearkening to 
him, he replied, 'Then I am a dead man.' And coming 
to the Island,® they marvelled they saw no colours upon 
the fort, nor any boat coming towards them ; whereupon 
he was counselled to drop an anchor. He liked the 
advice, but yet stood on into the harbour and after a 
second advice he still went on; but being come within 
pistol shot of one fort and hailing and no answer made, 
he put his bark a stays, and being upon the deck, which 
was also full of passengers, women and children, and 
hearing one cry out, 'They are traversing a piece at 
us,' he threw himself in at the door of the cuddy and 
one, Samuel Wakeman, a member of the church of Hart- 
ford, who was sent with goods to buy cotton, cast himself 
down by him and presently a great shot took them both. 
Mr. Peirce died within an hour; the other having only 
his thighs tore, lived ten days. Mr. Peirce had read to 
the company that morning (as it fell in course) that in 
Genesis the last, — 'Lo I die, but God will surely visit 

T Winthrop 's Journal, II, 34. Hubbard repeats the story from Winthrop 
and Hutchinson summarises it. 
S21 June, 1641. 


you and bring you back^' — out of which words he used 
godly exhortations to them. Then they shot from all 
parts about thirty great shot besides small and tore the 
sails and shrouds but hurt not the bark, nor any person 
more in it. The other vessel was then a league behind, 
which was marvelled at, for she was the better sailer 
and could fetch up the other at pleasure, but that morn- 
ing they could not by any means keep company with her. 
After this, the passengers being ashamed to return, 
would have been set on shore at Cape Grace de Dios, or 
Florida, or Virginia, but the seamen would not, and 
through the wonderful providence of God, they came all 
home the 3rd of September following. This brought 
some of them to see their error and acknowledge it in the 
open congregation, but others were hardened. There 
was a special providence in that the ministers were sent 
prisoners to England before the Island was taken, for 
otherwise it is most probable they had all been put to the 
sword, because some Spaniards had been slain there a 
little before by the deputy-governor his command, after 
the lieutenant had received them upon quarter in an 
attempt they had made upon the island, wherein they 
were repulsed with the loss of 2 or 300 men. ' ' 

The vessel carrying out from England the new deputy- 
governor, Thomas Fitch, and the Rev. Mr. Leverton, 
also approached within gunshot of the island before they 
discovered that it was no longer in English possession. 
Calamy tells us :• *' [the prisoners] were kindly received 
by the lords planters or proprietors of the island and 
encouraged to return. Mr. Sherrard, being of a timorous 
disposition, chose to stay here, but Capt. Lane and Mr. 
Leverton returned plentifully furnished for their voyage 
and authorised with a new commission. At their 
approach to the island they found that the Spaniards 

9 0alam7y Nonconformist's Memorial, 1, 373. 


had seized it in their absence. However at Mr. Lever- 
ton's desire, they ventured an engagement with them, 
killed a great many of their men and forced their armed 
long-boats ashore/' No landing, however, conld be 
effected and Leverton and his companions had to sail 
away, leaving Santa Catalina in the Spaniards' hands. 
Leverton remained cruising in the West Indies for some 
years before he returned to England and met with many 
adventures and hardships. His landing in England after 
his travels is rather quaintly described by his biogra- 
pher:^** '* Arrived at the Downs, he landed at Sandwich, 
where, as he was taking horse for London, the ostler says 
to him, ^Mr. So and so, you are somewhat like our minis- 
ter. I believe you have Uved in the hot countries, as well 
as he. ' Upon enquiry he found the minister to be his old 
colleague, Mr. Sherrard, who was settled there, which 
brought them to an interview again to their mutual joy. 
Coming to London, he was received with great honour 
and respect by the Lords Proprietors of the Island of 
Providence, and soon after settled as minister of High 
Hedingham in Suffolk." After his ejection at the 
Restoration, he went out as chaplain to Lord Wil- 
loughby's plantation of Surinam, where he died. Sher- 
rard in return for his services to the Providence 
Company had been presented by the Westminster 
Assembly with one of the sequestered Uvings at Sand- 
wich, but his contentious temper allowed him to lead no 
more a peaceful life there than he had secured in Provi- 
dence. Many disturbances arose in the town in conse- 
quence of his attempts to aggrandise himself at the 
expense of others, and his parishioners petitioned the 
House of Lords against him in very bitter terms." After 
a great deal of trouble, Sandwich finally succeeded in 

10 Ibid. 

11 "House of Lords MSS.," 23 Oet., 1647, etc. 


getting rid of him, and we last hear of him as being 
intruded upon the sequestered rectory of Meleombe in 

The capture of Providence was a hard blow to the 
company as completing the loss of the capital they had 
sunk in the enterprise, but so engrossing were the pre- 
occupations of the members in the national struggle that 
no attempts could be made to retrieve their losses. On 
February 8, 1642, a meeting of Pym, Warwick, Saye, 
Mandeville, and Brooke was held at Brooke House to 
straighten up the finances of the company as far as 
possible, and to notify each member the proportion 
of the company's debt for which he was personally 
responsible. The chaotic state of all business during 
the Civil War prevented any settlement of these debts, 
and it was not until the resumption of a more settled 
state of affairs in 1649 that the amounts due from each 
member were definitely ascertained. Then it was shown 
that Pym's estate still owed £1740, Saye £1190, and other 
members smaller amounts. No redress had been 
obtained from the Spaniards for the capture of New- 
man's ship by the Dunkirkers, and the company made 
this a pretext for demanding from parliament a share 
of the spoils of the rich Spanish ship, Santa Clara, which 
was seized with very doubtful morality in Portsmouth 
harbour in 1644. The case caused a great deal of stir 
at the time and was productive of a large amount of 
bitterness between the English and the Spanish govern- 
ments. It was debated for many years and even till 
after the Restoration, and was productive of a large 
mass of documents which are still extant.^' Its main 
interest for us lies in the fact that the Providence Com- 
pany's journal was recopied as an exhibit in the case and 

I* Lords' Journal, X, 82. 
IS 8. P. Dom., Oar. I. 


probably came into the State Paper Office among the 
Santa Clara papers. The Providence Company ulti- 
mately got little or nothing from the sequestered funds 
which dribbled away among the many venial employes 
of the Commonwealth. 

The creditors of the company were not content to wait 
for their money, while the members were quarrelling as 
to how it should be paid. They began to take proceedings 
against members of the company in their individual 
capacity, though they had great difficulty in doing so 
owing to the fact that most of them were protected by 
parliamentary privileges. It is interesting to note that 
the permanent session of the Long Parliament acted as 
a bar to the recovery of debts from its members and their 
servants, and that full advantage was taken of this par- 
liamentary privilege at the expense of the unfortunate 
creditors. Sir John Barrington, heir of Sir Thomas 
Barrington, who had died in 1643, was the only Provi- 
dence adventurer who was unprotected from distraint 
by parliamentary privilege, and in 1645 we find him 
petitioning parliament^* for protection against the 
Providence creditors, who were suing him for the whole 
of the company's debts. He was successful in his peti- 
tion, and was compelled to pay only the debt owing by 
his father. On February 5, 1650, the last meeting**^ of 
the Providence Company of which we have any record 
took place and each surviving member assumed personal 
responsibility for the portion of the debts that was shown 
by Secretary Jessop to be due from him. With this 
step the company may be said to have dissolved. 

We have now examined in detail the story of the 
Providence Company and its allied enterprises from their 

i«'' House of Lords MSS./' 24 July, 1645, Hist. MSS. Comm., Sixth 
Bepori, App., p. 71a; Lords' Journal, VII, 506; Brit. Mus., Eg., 2648. 
IS Present Warwick, Budjerd, Darlej, N. Fiennes, Knightlej, Graunt. 


inception to their abandonment, and it behooves ns to 
attempt to snpply an answer to some questions that 
cannot fail to have suggested themselves in the course 
of our enquiry. Why did men migrate ttom England 
in the decade 1630-1640 by the thousand, with their wives, 
their families, and their whole possessions t Why did 
the tlien inhospitable shores of New England attract 
them, while only an insignificant number could be per- 
suaded by the leaders of their party in England to sail 
for the balmy climate of the Caribbean t 

It has been well said that revolts against tyranny arise, 
not when men are in the depths of misery, but when their 
prevailing prosperity is attacked. The Great Rebellion 
of the seventeenth century and the migration that pre- 
ceded it, do something to bear out the truth of this state- 
ment, for the profound internal peace enjoyed by Eng- 
land for sixty years, had, by 1630, resulted in enormous 
progress in wealth and enlightenment. But while the 
nation as a whole was infinitely better off under Charles 
I than in the early days of Elizabeth, there was much in 
the condition of rural England to breed discontent in 
the hearts of the farming class." The power of the 
nobiUty and greater gentry in the government of their 
counties was supreme, and though their rule generally 
commended itself to their poorer neighbours, yet there 
are many indications in the records of the time that Eng- 
lish tenant farmers were not contented with their lot, but 
felt keenly that land hunger which so often besets the 
members of a rural community. In Massachusetts from 
the first it was possible for practically every man to own 
his own land in entire freedom from a landlord's over- 
sight and from the heavy rents exacted in England. In 
Providence, on the other hand, in its earlier years the 

i« See Thorold Bogers, Hiti. of Agriculture and Prices, Chaps. I and X 

xxvn. ' 


whole of the land was the property of the English com- 
pany, and the half of all profits produced had to be paid 
over to them. At first the company would not even grant 
definite leases of the plantations, and this proved a ter- 
rible drawback in the eyes of men who left England, 
not merely to escape religious tyranny as they regarded 
it, but also to become their own masters and to owl their 
own acres free from the overlordship of squire or uoble. 
We are familiar with the objections of the ruling 
classes to the obsolescent feudal rights of the crown, for 
they were loudly voiced during the debates in parliament 
on the * * Great Contract. ' ' The pressure of feudal rights 
upon the tenant farmer class, though less heard of, must 
have been even more galling. For any proper under- 
standing of the social conditions prevailing under the 
early Stuarts we must remember that however modem 
the tendencies of the time may appear, those tendencies 
had to work themselves out in a society bound and 
shackled in every direction by the rusty chains of the 
medisBval polity. The **Ancien Regime" died in a cer- 
tain sense with an English king as much as it died with 
a French one, and there are many curiously exact par- 
allels to be drawn between the last days of feudalism in 
both countries. The Stuart age was peculiarly one of 
lawyers, who, nurtured on the legal learning of Lancas- 
trian precedents, could always find a way to prove that 
right lay on the side of the over-lord. Coke and Hakewill, 
Noy and Digges, may have laid the foundation of our 
modem liberties, but their rule was a hard one for the 
small man. To escape from the meshes of manorial 
pedantry to a community where practically all men were 
of equal rank, and where every freeman had a voice in 
the election of his rulers, must have been a most potent 
inducement to emigration to a generation that had begun 
to think for itself. 



While New England could offer this prospect of free- 
dom, Providence could hold out no such boon. The gov- 
ernor and the council were obedient nominees of the 
company at home, and their control of the planters was 
absolute, although in their selection no person in the 
colony had a share. The company's regulation of the 
trade of the island, and their requirement that the colo- 
nists should purchase all their goods from the stores, 
while they were compelled to dispose of their crops 
through the company's agents in England, contrasted 
ill with the entire freedom of trade enjoyed in Massa- 
chusetts, where commodities could be purchased in an 
open market and the fruits of the colonists' labours 
could be sold without restraint to the highest bidder. 
The conditions under which farming was carried on in 
New England and the crops to be raised there were 
familiar to every immigrant from a rural parish, but in 
the West Indies a man must learn to cope with an en- 
tirely new set of conditions in a climate unsuited to the 
exertion of the unremitting energy essential to success. 
In Massachusetts a man's whole labours might be 
devoted to his own concerns and very Uttle danger was 
to be apprehended in the early years from the neighbour- 
ing Indian tribes; but in Providence a planter must be 
always ready to take up his pike or his musket, and was 
constantly being called away from his own plantation for 
hard work upon the fortifications. The constant dread 
of Spanish attack must have been one of the most potent 
causes in persuading an emigrant to choose Massa- 
chusetts as his goal rather than Providence, for while 
it might appear to men like Saye and Pym a most states- 
manlike course to combine hatred of Spanish domination 
with hatred of English Arminianism, the course can 
hardly have presented itself in the same light to plain 
men, who had never had a share in politics at home, and 


who in emigrating to the West Indies laid themselves 
open to the prospect of ending their days in a Spanish 
dnngeon. It was one thing to hate the Spaniard in the 
security of an English parish, but quite another to be 
prepared at any moment to join in repelling an over- 
whehning Spanish attack. Religious motives were far 
stronger in guiding the conduct of an Englishman in the 
seventeenth century than they are to-day, but it was only 
rarely that crusading ardour could be found combined 
in one personality with the patience, prudence, and per- 
sistence that are requisite in the founders of a successful 
colony. Not every infant community has been blest with 
the possession of a John Winthrop. 

Some part of the reluctance of Puritans to emigrate 
to Providence may be attributed to personal causes. 
Looking back over the whole Puritan struggle, the Civil 
War, and the first years of the Commonwealth, we see 
the party groupings of the preceding years in a way 
quite different from that in which they appeared to plain 
men at the time. Warwick, Saye, Pym, and Barrington 
were the leaders of the opposition to Elng Charles I's 
ministers when parUament was sitting and they directed 
the policy of their party during the years of absolute rule, 
but their aims and their efforts were of necessity secret, 
and to the Puritan rank and file they must have appeared 
merely as somewhat distinguished members of the ruling 
classes, who, though having sound views upon religion, 
were yet acquiescent supporters of the absolute regime. 
To an Essex farmer the Earl of Warwick would appear 
only as the lord lieutenant of the county, keeping almost 
regal state at his seat of Leighs Priory, Puritan in his 
sympathies certainly, but carrying out obediently the 
orders of the government, appearing at the oppressive 
forest courts held by his brother, the Earl of Holland, 
as chief justice in eyre, anxious to maintain his rights 


against the king, but on his own estates insisting strongly 
upon his rights as landlord. Sir Thomas Barrington, as 
the lord lieutenant's trusty deputy, appeared in the 
same light as an agent of the government, and that he 
was not much liked by the lower orders in his own neigh- 
bourhood we can see from the many cases in the Domestic 
State Papers, where he was accused of illegally enclosing 
forest and common lands. Saye was more favourably 
known to the common people as an implacable opponent 
of the government, but Pym had made very little mark 
in public life before the opening of the Short Parliament, 
and he was always regarded by political observers of the 
time as a mere client of the Earl of Bedford, and a mod- 
erate, who, like Budyerd, was hampered by his long 
connection with official life. Contrast this with the way 
in which men like John Winthrop and Thomas Dudley 
must have appeared to their humbler brethren. Both 
were men of decent family, but their religious fervour 
was strong enough to overcome their class feelings and 
to make them prefer to leave England forever, rather 
than submit to a church policy that they detested. They 
did not merely offer to send out emigrants to a distant 
colony, while they remained at home and weakly com- 
promised with absolutism ; in person they led the stream 
of emigrants across the Atlantic, shared their dangers 
and their hardships, and governed the colony they had 
founded with self-sacrificing care, foresight, and integ- 
rity. Such was the esteem in which the leaders of the 
rival colonies were held by the humbler folk. Can we 
wonder that while the colony succeeded abundantly that 
had but one member of the ruling classes, Henry Vane, 
among its leaders. Providence, essentially the creation 
of the Puritan members of those ruling classes, proved 
in the end and in every respect a failure t 



The Providence Company and its schemes had by 1641 
come to a most unfortunate ending, as far as material 
advantage and success were concerned, but even in 
failure the efforts of the company prepared the way for 
future accomplishment. At the commencement of the 
present enquiry we stated that the Providence Company 
served as a connecting link between the Elizabethan sea- 
men and Cromwell's ** Western Design,'* between the 
exploits of Drake and Hawkins and the founding of 
Jamaica. With the chain of events that formed this 
connection we have been concerned throughout the fore- 
going pages, and it now only remains to look to the last 
of the links and to show briefly that the ** Western 
Design" was no new creation of Cromwell's brain, but 
was an ordered attempt to carry to fruition the ideas 
of England 's true foreign policy that Pym and Warwick 
had instilled into the minds of the members of the 
Providence Company and the Puritan party in general. 

Throughout the whole life of the Providence Company 
the Earl of Warwick had maintained his private warfare 
against Spain and, in conjunction with certain London 
and Dartmouth merchants, had continued the privateer- 
ing business that he found so profitable. He continued 
to take the greatest interest in all colonising schemes and 
when the Earl of Pembroke, seeing no likelihood of profit 
from his Caribbee patent, desired to dispose of it. War- 


wick purchased aU his rights over the islands for a 
nominal sum. Li 1638 he began to take steps to en- 
force these rights and founded small colonies in Trinidad 
and Tobago with emigrants from Bermuda under one 
of his old shipmasters, a Capt. Chaddock. After the 
capture of Providence certain of the settlers, who had 
managed to escape, took refuge with Warwick's colonists 
in Tobago and there carried on a precarious existence 
for a few years. Others fled to Cape Gracias a Dios 
and there mingled with the Indians, while others again 
took refuge with Claiborne's colonists in Buatan and 
others of the Bay Islands. These last did not have a very 
long respite, for in 1642 they were attacked by a Spanish 
expedition from Honduras and either slaughtered or 
dispersed among the Indians. The most important group 
of fugitives, however, led by Samuel and Andrew Axe, 
escaped to St. Christopher and played a very important 
part in West Indian history in connection with the 
capture of Jamaica. 

It will be recalled that B#bins, the petitioner to the 
House of Lords against the tyrannical behaviour of which 
he had been the victim in Providence, complained in 1642 
that Capt. Jackson, his persecutor, was bound to the West 
Indies on a voyage for the Earl of Warwick. This voy- 
age we have already mentioned very briefly, and it must 
now again be noticed, for it was by far the most important 
event in the history of the West Indies betweeii 1641 and 
1655. The enterprise was financed by the Earl of War- 
Mrick and others of the Providence Company in. conjunc- 
tion with Maurice Thompson, and other merchants in 
the City of London. Jackson sailed from England in 
July, 1642, with three well-equipped vessels, having as 
his vice-admiral Samuel Axe, the old Providence colonist. 
Arriving at Barbadoes on the 27th of September, he 
made public proclamation of his commission from the 


Earl of Warwick and of his intended expedition against 
the Spaniards, and called for volunteers. He was at 
once joined by large numbers of recruits both from 
Barbadoes and St. Christopher, and especially by very 
many of those who had escaped from the capture of 
Providence. By the beginning of November the whole 
force was complete, and consisted of seven vessels of 
various sizes and something over eleven hundred men. 
The land forces were divided into companies and placed 
under the supreme conunand of Capt. William Rous, 
who on his release from a Spanish prison had again 
found his way to the West Indies. 

The first attack was directed against the pearl fisheries 
at the Island of Margarita, but little booty was obtained. 
After the capture and ransom of Maracaibo in December, 
other places in New Granada were pillaged and at the 
end of February, 1643, the expedition sailed over to 
Hispaniola to refit. On the 25th of March, Jackson 
landed his forces in the island of Jamaica and without 
any great difficulty captured its Spanish capital, San- 
tiago de la Vega. For some three weeks Jackson held 
Jamaica at his mercy, and it was only on receiving a 
ransom of 7000 pieces of eight and very large stores of 
victuals for his ships, that he finally consented to retire 
on the 21st of April. Rous now gave up his command 
in the expedition and returned to England, having 
learned that he had been elected as a member of the 
Long Parliament. The expedition sailed next into the 
Gulf of Honduras under the guidance of the New England 
pirate, Capt. Cromwell. Truxillo was captured, but 
yielded little return, and the freebooters did not meet 
with much profit during the smnmer of 1643. In 
November a raid was made against the smaller towns 
of Costa Bica and the Isthmus, but again little booty was 


The winter of 1643-1644 was spent in raids upon the 
coast of Cartagena and the summer of 1644 in expedi- 
tions against Guatemala and the small towns in the Gulf 
of Mexico, and finally in September, Jackson and the 
remains of his fleet sailed out through the Straits of 
Florida without mishap and reached Bermuda on the 
27th of October. After a long stay there to divide the 
booty, the expedition finally returned to England in 
March, 1645, and had its last fight off Plymouth with 
three Dunkirk men-of-war, one of its smaller vessels 
being sunk and a large portion of the crew drowned. For 
three years Jackson and his followers had kept the 
Indies in an uproar. It is needless to remark that the 
Spanish government had exhausted every means in their 
power to cause the English authorities to put a stop to 
his depredations ; but when a country is plunged in the 
throes of civil war, little can be done, even by a willing 
government, to bring its disobedient subjects under con- 
trol. As to the will of the parliament to bring Jackson *s 
depredations to an end, we shall be more certain if we 
note briefly what happened in colonial affairs after regu- 
lar government ceased in 1641. 

The members of the Providence Company did not 
abandon their interest in colonial affairs when the 
events in England became so engrossing as to demand 
their whole attention. A lull in the civil strife appeared 
to have been reached, when, on September 9, 1641, both 
houses of parliament adjourned till the 20th of October, 
and once more we find an interest being taken in the 
West Indies. A committee was appointed by each house 
to look after affairs during the recess, and when we find 
upon the Lords' committee the names of Warwick and 
Mandeville, and upon that of the Commons ' Pym, chair- 
man, St. John, Gerrard, and Barrington, we are not sur- 
prised to learn that among the terms of reference is a 


direction ^'To consider of framing and constituting a 
West Indian Company. ' ^* Circumstances, however, were 
too critical for the conmiittee to devote attention to the 
project and colonial affairs were left more and more 
to be dealt with by Warwick alone with the assistance of 
Jessop as his secretary. 

With the outbreak of civil war in 1642, all formal gov- 
ernmental connection between England and her colonies 
ceased for nearly a decade. A body of so-called colonial 
commissioners was established by the Long Parliament, 
but though they contained among their number all the 
principal members of the Providence Company, they did 
very little business. In 1643 the Earl of Warwick was 
appointed govemor-in-chief of all the American planta- 
tions and there seems to have been some understanding 
that he should submit important matters for considera- 
tion to the great Derby House conunittee. As a matter 
of fact, the parliamentary government was so over- 
whelmed with difficulties of all kinds, that no share of 
its attention could be paid to the colonies, and they were 
allowed to shift for themselves as best they could. An 
accurate investigation of the relations between the colo- 
nies and the mother country in those years of chaos 
would demand much patient and not very profitable 
research, but it would appear that our general conclu- 
sions are in the main correct, and that what small amount 
of communication was kept up, was carried out by the 
Earl of Warwick through William Jessop and practi- 
cally upon his own authority.^ Each colony was for the 
time being a little independent state, adherent nominally 
to either king or parliament as the case might be, and 

1 Clarendon, Hist, of the Behellion, TV, 12; Cmnmons' Journal, U, 288. 

sA register of letters written to the colonies by Jessop in the name of 
the Earl of Warwick, 1645-1648, is in the British Museum, Stowe MSS., 
184, fos. 114 sqq. 


providing a haven for privateers of its own way of think- 
ing, bnt in practice having very little to do with the 
struggle at home. 

With the suppression of the second Civil War and the 
execution of the king in 1649, the reorganisation of gov- 
ernment in England began to place affairs upon a more 
stable footing, and it became possible for the parliament 
acting through the Council of State to attempt to recall 
the colonies once more to an effective allegiance. A 
strong fleet was fitted out in 1650 and despatched under 
Sir George Ayscue to bring the royalists of Virginia, 
Barbadoes, and Bermuda into subjection. The task was 
practically completed by the early part of 1652, in time 
to deprive Prince Rupert of a refuge for his fleet in 
Barbadoes. The whole direction of the enterprise was 
supervised in a very spasmodic way by a committee of 
the council of state with William Jessop as its clerk and 
executive officer. Its guiding spirit, as far as colonial 
policy was concerned, was the Earl of Warwick, who 
even after his retirement from the position of lord high 
admiral had a very great influence in affairs, and we 
may claim with justice that through him and Jessop 
there was a direct connection between the colonial policy 
of 1652 and the Providence Company *s West Indian 
enterprises that had failed in 1641. 

On April 20, 1653, Oliver Cromwell, the chosen leader 
of the now all-powerful army, drove the Rump from the 
Parliament House and made the way clear for a new 
and definite course of policy in foreign affairs. Through- 
out the year the form which the new government was to 
assume was uncertain, but on December 16, 1653, a new 
written constitution, the Instrument of Government, was 
accepted, and Cromwell became Lord Protector. He was 
now free in great measure to fashion a definite foreign 
policy and to give to England once more a place of 


respect and influence in the European world. Either 
of two alternatives might be chosen as a policy, and each 
of them was supported by a party in the Council of 
State, with which under the Instrument of Government 
lay the deciding voice. On one hand, the Protector might 
adopt a policy of close alliance with the Spanish mon- 
archy to curb the growing power of France, or on the 
other, he might take up that traditional policy of hostility 
to Spain that he and some of his most intimate friends' 
had been brought up from their earliest years to regard 
as England's heritage from the days of the great queen. 
Between these two alternatives the struggle raged in 
a tangle of confused negotiation that lasted until, in the 
smnmer of 1654, Cromwell was able to force his council- 
lors to accept the decision to which his own personal 
feelings and his Puritan up-bringing had led him. 

The modem mind, says Seeley,* is tempted to question 
this momentous decision and to ask why Cromwell wan- 
tonly plunged his country into war with the Spanish 
monarchy at a moment when she had scarcely emerged 
from a long, dark period of civil discord. He suggests 
that the guiding cause was Cromwell's emulation of 
the example of Gustavus Adolphus as the champion of 
Protestantism, rather than his foresight of the future 
colonial greatness of England and a desire to enrich 
her with the ^spoils of the declining Spanish empire. An 
American writer' has more justly ascribed Cromwell's 
motive to an emulation of the Elizabethans, but he 
imputes the connection of ideas to the inspiration of 
the renegade Dominican, Thomas Gage. The enquiry 
that has been carried through in these pages enables us 

• For the intimacj of Cromwell with Warwick, see Carlyle's Leiter$ of 
Cromwell, ed. Mrs. 8. C. Lomas, III, 294, 338. 

* Seeley, Growth of British Policy, 11, 75. 

5 Strong, Amer, Hist Bev., VoL IV, p. 233. 



to offer a solution to the problem more prosaic than the 
one view, more natural than the other, and proof is not 
lacking that our solution is the true one, for it can be 
supported by evidence derived from Cromwell himself. 
For thirty years the foreign policy of the Puritan party 
had been to enrich England at the expense of the Spanish 
Lidies, but only once within that time had it been pos- 
sible to attempt this openly, and then its success had 
been foiled by royal bungling. At last the way lay open 
to carry the Puritan policy to fruition by Puritan means. 
Everything in Cromwell's personal and family history, 
everything in the counsels of his intimate friends, urged 
him to take up, now that he was able, the great cause of 
Protestantism in the Lidies, that the Puritan leaders 
had attempted to uphold during the ten long years of 
absolute rule. Let him go on with the interrupted work 
to found, with the greater means at his command, Pym 's 
English empire on the shores of the Caribbean — a blow 
at the realm of Anti-Christ and an extension of the 
Kingdom of God in the world. 

In December, 1654, a great fleet sailed from Ports- 
mouth under Adm. Penn and Gen. Venables with sealed 
orders to attack Hispaniola in prosecution of the 
* * Western Design. * * In September, 1655, after having 
succeeded in capturing only that island of Jamaica which 
had fallen such an easy prey to Jackson's much smaller 
force twelve years before, they returned to England 
dejected, discredited, and in enmity one with another. 
So great an apparent failure seemed to demand an 
apology for the policy that had inspired the expedition, 
and on the 26th of October, 1655, there was published a 
lengthy Latin document entitled Scriptum domini pro- 
tect oris contra hispanos, or in the English version of 
Birch, a Manifesto of the Lord Protector, etc., wherein 


is shewn the Reasonableness of the Cause of this 
Republic against the Depredations of the Spaniards.* 

This manifesto has been always attributed to the pen 
of John Milton, then Latin secretary to the Protector. 
It recites at length the wrongs suffered by Englishmen 
at the hands of Spaniards since the beginning of the 
seventeenth century, and justifies the declaration of war 
and the despatch of the West Indian expedition as a 
retaliation for past injuries and an attempt to right the 
wrongs of Englishmen. It may be that the manifesto 
was merely an attempt to justify to the public an expe- 
dition that had been despatched by the Protector on 
quite other grounds, but this somewhat forced explana- 
tion seems exceedingly unlikely when we examine the 
list of wrongs charged against the Spaniards, and find 
how large among them loom the losses of the Provi- 
dence Company, which had touched the pockets of so 
many among Cromwell's immediate friends and allies. 

Ten instances of the unjustified seizure of English 
ships between 1605 and 1608 are dealt with in a general 
fashion in sixty-four lines of the manifesto, which then 
goes on to deal with the story of the Providence Com- 
pany and the capture of Tortuga and Providence in a 
hundred and nineteen lines of accurate detail. With 
two or three very brief mentions of more recent attacks 
of the Dunkirkers on English ships the grievances of 
the Providence Company complete the list of wrongs. 
It is evident that Milton must have derived his informa- 
tion from someone entirely famiUar with the history 
of the Providence Company, and this informant can be 
no other than the company's late secretary, William 
Jessop, now one of the clerks of the Council of State and 
in daily contact with Milton. 

• Translated by Birch (1738) and printed in Bohn's edition of Milton's 
Prose Works, II, 342. 


That the Protector himself was entirely familiar with 
the strategic situation and importance of Providence, 
we may learn from one of his own letters. Writing 
under date October 30, 1655, to Major-Gteneral Fortescue, 
then in command in Jamaica, he said :'' ^ ' We think, and 
it is much designed amongst us, to strive with the 
Spaniards for the mastery of all those seas ; and there- 
fore we could heartily wish that the Island of Providence 
were in our hands again, believing that it lies so advan- 
tageously in reference to the Main, and especially for the 
hindrance of the Peru trade and Cartagena, that you 
might not only have great advantage thereby of intelli- 
gence and surprise, but even block up the same. ' *• This 
mastery of the Spanish treasure route had been strongly 
insisted upon in the original instructions issued to Gen. 
Venables;' and, it will be remembered, was one of the 
most cherished designs of Pym and the Providence 

Not only were those in power in England familiar 
with the Providence story, but the leaders of the expedi- 
tion themselves knew it well, and, if necessary, could 
refresh their memories from some of those who had taken 
part in it. Andrew Carter, the old deputy-governor of 
Providence,*" was the leader of the fifth regiment, 
Anthony Rous, son of the deceased Providence minister, 
was serving in the army, and Kempo Sabada, the old 
Providence pilot, was one of the principal guides of the 
expedition." A complete search through the records 

TCarljle's Letters of Cromwell, ed. Mrs. 8. G. Lomas (1904), no. CCVI; 
old edition No. GXLIII. 

sCarlyle emends "the same," which is in the original, to "Oartagena" 
and Mrs. Lomas allows the emendation to stand. It would rather seem 
that "the same" refers to the Peru trade. 

• V enables' Narrative, ed. C. H. Firth, p. 113. 

10 Por his later life see ibid., Introduction, p. 

11 Ibid,, p. 20. 


would doubtless yield other nameSy but it seems hardly 
necessary. The terms propounded to the Spaniards in 
Jamaica are sufficient to prove that revenge for the 
humiliations of 1641 was in every mind. Whistler tells 
us in his journal of the West India expedition :" * * This 
morning came in to us eight Spaniards, they being the 
chief men of the Island [of Jamaica] to treat with us : 
and General Yenables propounding to them the same 
compositions that they gave our English upon Provi- 
dencCy which was all to go off from the Island, each with 
a suit of clothes on his back : And to bring in all goods 
and all money and plate, with their negroes and all other 
slaves into the place appointed for the reviewing of it 
within ten days, upon pain of death, and so to be gone 
off the island. ' ' 

Jamaica, having been captured, must be peopled and 
settlers sought on all sides. Again Cromwell followed 
the old lines and took up Saye 's old project of obtaining 
settlers from New England. Saye's arguments and 
almost his very phrases were used to further his purpose. 
Again did Winthrop protest, again did the rulers of 
Massachusetts throw every obstacle in the way, and once 
again was the attempt to people the West Indies at the 
expense of New England a failure." English and Ameri- 
can Puritanism were divergent to the last. Other intimate 
links connecting Providence with the ** Western Design** 
might be demonstrated, but even what has here been 
touched upon would seem sufficient to prove that it was 
from his own life-long friends, from those who, like 
Warwick, had made war upon the Spaniard a perpetual 

la Hid., p. 164. 

IS Strong deals with the whole of this controversy in his article in the 
Bepori of the American Historical Association for 1898, pp. 77-94. See 
also correspondence with Daniel €h)okin in Thurloe, State Papers, IV; Life 
of Daniel Ooohin, Chs. IX, X. 


duty, that Cromwell derived the inspiration for that 
** Western Design" and for that Spanish war, that 
formed so important a part of his foreign policy. He 
may have emulated Gustavus Adolphus, he may have 
talked with Thomas Gage, but it was the Elizabethan 
tradition, handed down through the members of the 
Providence Company, that decided his course. 

It would be wrong to assume that the traditional policy 
of hostility against Spain had entirely expended its force 
when it led to the despatch of the Jamaica expedition. 
For a few years longer it continued to move the minds 
of men who had a large influence on England's colonial 
policy, and it was only with the restoration of the Stuarts 
and the advent to power of fresh men with a new out- 
look on world affairs that the long chapter was closed 
and it was seen that it was no longer the Spaniards but 
the Dutch whose commercial rivalry England had to 
fear in the western seas. In all his colonial adminis- 
tration Cromwell was personally influenced by a group 
of London merchants upon whom he constantly called 
for advice and whom he placed upon the many com- 
mittees and councils established to look after trade 
affairs.^^ Among these men an important part was 
played by Martin Noell and Thomas Povey, to the last 
of whom more than to any one else England owes the 
beginnings of a definite colonial policy. In the ** Over- 
tures" of 1656-1657, that were drawn up by Noell and 
Povey and led to the formation of the Select Committee 
for Trade and Foreign Plantations, we find the following 
paragraph :** 

''That [the proposed Council] do use their utmost 
industry and endeavour for the promoting those begin- 

14 C. M. Andrews, British Commissions, etc., J. H. U. Studies, XXVI, 37. 
IB Brit. Mus., Eg., 2395, fo. 99, Povey 's draft For aU this matter see 
Andrews, op. ciU, pp. 38-60. 


nings his Highness hath made at Jamaica both within 
itself and in order to further attempts upon the Span- 
iard. And that they do give encouragements (and 
rewards if they shall be deserved) to such as bring any 
considerable intelligence or information, and shall receive 
and debate and favour all such propositions as shall be 
tendered to them either for the making further dis- 
coveries or attempts upon any of the Spanish Domin- 
ions, or that shall desire by ships of war to make prize 
of any of his ships or goods in those Indias, that thereby 
Merchants and others may be invited either by them- 
selves in their own ships and persons, or by a joint stock, 
to adventure upon some laudable undertaking in some 
of those parts.'* 

We have here a continuance of the old tradition that 
would give governmental sanction and support to such 
a warfare of privateers as that carried on by the old 
Providence Company. The merchants went so far as 
to propose the incorporation by Act of Parliament of 
a company, to be known as the West India Company, 
for the express purpose of attacking Spanish towns, 
interrupting the treasure fleet, and driving the Spaniards 
from their control in the West Indies and South America. 
The project went very far towards completion and 
among Povey's papers*' we have many drafts and 
counter-drafts of projects that show what serious atten- 
tion was paid to the matter. The proposals were pre- 
sented to the Council of State after Cromwell's death, 
but the times were unpropitious*^ for their acceptance and 

i« Brit. Mas., Eg., 2395, fos. 89-113 and 202-237. See also Povej's Letter 
Book, Add. MSS., 11411. 

17 <<ln 1659 business in the city was so poor that some merchants visited 
it only rarely; while through want of employment, a great number of poor 
families were in danger of perishing, and the burden of relieving them in 
some wards was found almost insupportable, ' ' Scott, Joint Stock Companies, 
II, 130. 



after 1659 nothing more is heard of them. When in 
November, 1659, the harsh provisions of the Peace of 
the Pyrenees demonstrated to the world that the power 
of the Spanish Colossus was irretrievably at an end, a 
new era was opened in colonial affairs as in so many 
other branches of world politics. The newer maritime 
powers had definitely won their right to share in the 
exploitation of the Western Hemisphere and, although 
ten years were to elapse before Spain would acknowl- 
edge her defeat in the treaty of 1670, the further use- 
lessness of the Elizabethan tradition was demonstrated 
to all Englishmen. It had long been felt by many that 
legaUsed piracy was compromising to the dignity of a 
great nation, and though Morgan and his ruffians were 
yet to sack Panama, and Esquemeling was yet to harrow 
the minds of Western Europe by his stories of the bucca- 
neers and their exploits, it was as pirates that they 
fought — ^in defiance of their governments and with ever- 
increasing ferocity and a determination to profit not 
only at the expense of the Spaniards but of all honest 
men. As Major Robert Sedgwick wrote in 1655,^' so 
after 1660 it became universally recognized that *Hhis 
kind of marooning, cruizing West Indian trade of plun- 
dering and burning of towns, though it hath been long 
practised in these parts, yet is not honourable for a 
princely navy." 

With the abandonment of Povey's project for a pri- 
vateering West Indian company our enquiry comes to 
its natural close. It has ranged over the whole period 
of England's colonial beginnings from the earliest colon- 
ising of Guiana to the definite formation of a colonial 
policy, and though it has been mainly concerned with the 
history of a single colonising company it has, owing to 

1* OoL Papers, No. 35, xrrii, Nov. 14, 1655, Maj. Robert Sedgwick to the 
Ck>iiiini8sioner8 of the Admiraltj. 


the importance of the members of the company, had to 
touch upon many points in the history of the seventeenth 
century. Even if the story had dealt only with the details 
of the life of the Providence colony itself, it would have 
been worth the telling, for we have no such wealth of 
information concerning any other of the first West Indian 
colonies and only in a few cases so much concerning an 
early chartered company. But the main interest has not 
lain in this direction; it has rather been found in the 
light which the career of the company throws on the 
course of English history, at home during that lull of 
eleven years between the Petition of Bight and the Long 
Parliament, when Charles I was endeavouring to estab- 
Ush his personal rule; and abroad in perpetuating the 
Elizabethan tradition of conflict with Spain for the con- 
trol of America and the West Indies, which had not 
spent its course until in the days of the Bestoration 
fear of the Spaniards passed permanently away. The 
purposes and activities of the Providence Company are 
not isolated forces operating in the backwaters of 
the historical current; they are factors contributing in 
no small measure to the outworking of important phases 
in the parliamentary and colonising influences of the 
time and as such deserve to take a sufficiently prominent 
place in the narrative as not to mask their historical 

The close relation between the leaders of the great 
migration to New England and the men who had directed 
the activities of the Virginia and Somers Islands com- 
panies has been demonstrated in many of our pages, 
and their intimacy with the principal English Puritans 
has also been made apparent. It has been shown that 
all these men were united by ties of relationship and by 
community of interest in a very near degree, and we have 
been enabled to cast some fresh light upon the careers 


of two men of commanding iniSuence in the struggle 
against absolute monarchy. The obscurity that has 
veiled the life of John Pym from the dissolution of 1629 
to the opening of the Short Parliament has been some- 
what cleared, and we have shown that during that period 
he was playing a very active part in national life. In 
the management of the affairs of the Providence Com- 
pany he was developing that massive breadth of judg- 
ment and that sagacious instinct for the right moment 
that were to make him for two crowded years **King 
Pym,** the master of his country. The measure, the 
foresight, and the rare power in times of high contention 
of singling out the central issues and choosing the best 
battle ground, — all these were perfected in those eleven 
years ; the industry, the patient persistence, and the tire- 
less energy whereto he then had schooled himself, he 
could apply, when the time came, to some of the gravest 
problems that have confronted an Englisli statesman. 
The work of Robert Rich, too, has been touched upon at 
many points, and we have noted how he had some share 
in the foundation of almost every English colony of his 
time. His great influence in the central government 
during the Civil War was the natural sequel to his 
activity in the Puritan councils during the period of 
absolutism. His inherited position as a great and wealthy 
noble made his house a rallying point for many of those 
who disliked innovations in church and state, while his 
natural abiUties and adventurous spirit made him take 
the lead in many directions where Lincoln's natural 
timidity and Saye's disagreeable and radical temper 
debarred them from success. His true importance as 
an actor in the historical drama has hardly yet been 
properly appreciated, and some day, no doubt, Warwick 
will receive his due meed of recognition as an important 
figure in the action of his time. 


The field of West Indian history after the period of 
the Spanish conquest is as yet ahnost virgin soil and we 
have here been able only in the briefest way to indicate 
the movements that were going on where they were of 
importance to our immediate subject. The Caribbean, 
that under Philip U was a Spanish sea, became during 
the first half of the seventeenth century a seething 
cauldron into which were poured the most adventurous 
spirits from every western nation; therein worked all 
the passions that could no longer find their outlet on 
their native soil. Huguenot and Leaguer, Puritan and 
Arminian, Hollander, Swede, and Courlander, all could 
hope for fighting, adventure, and booty from the Span- 
iard. Their hopes of riches might be disappointed and 
they might be compelled to take to peaceful planting in 
the islands they had wrested from him, or to smuggling 
with his colonists and slaves, but the end of the struggle 
was the same for all. When with the pacification of 
Europe peace came to the western seas, Spain had lost all 
she was to lose for a hundred and fifty years and the other 
nations were fixed in the outer ring of islands, which 
from barren volcanic rocks they were to convert during 
the eighteenth century into some of the richest and most 
populous spots in the world. Throughout our pages 
this theme has never been far away and it has provided, 
perhaps, the principal justification for their writing. 
If the work has contributed anything to illustrate the 
development of the policy of hostility to Spain from its 
full vigour to its final close, its purpose has been achieved. 




AbBenteeism, Begulations against, 159. 

Adventurers in Providence Company, principal leaders of opposition to 
Charles I, 3; list of, 59; classification of, 60; their aims in founding 
the colony, 117. 

Adventurers in Tortuga Company, 105; vest their rights in Brooke, Pym and 
Saye, 215. 

Alexander, Sir William, 42 note, 85. 

Algiers, pirates, 265. 

Amboyna, massacre at, 138. 

America, settlements in at the beginning of the 17th century, 17; route 
for sailing to, 17; settlements in 1631, 85. 

Argall, Samuel, discovers northern route to Virginia, 18; connected with 
the voyage of the Treasurer, 21. 

Armada, the, 194. 

Ashman, Butch West India merchant, 212. 

Association, see Tortuga. 

Aston, deputy-governor of St. Christopher, 102. 

Axe, Andrew, 266. 

Axe, Capt. Samuel, entrusted with fortification of Providence, 54; member 
of council, 94; conmiander of Warwick Fort, 96; quarrels with Elfrith, 
156; settles at Moskito cays, 156, 165; returns to Providence, 196; 
his plan of the island, 206; commander of the Swallow , 266; in charge 
of Cape trade, 272; description of the Cape, 274; escapes from 
capture at Providence, 315; vice-admiral in Jackson's voyage, 315. 

Ayscue, Sir George, 319. 

Ball, William, stockholder, 126. 

Barbadoes, first settlement in, 29; absentee landlordism in, 159; emigra- 
tion from, to Providence, 279. 

Barber, Gabriel, his life, 63; paid out of Providence Company, 124. 

Barbuda, Hilton attempts to colonise, 102. 

Bamardiston, Thomas, stockholder, 127. 

Barrington, Lady Joan, 65. 

Barrington, Sir John, petitions House of Lords, 308. 

Barrington, Sir Thomas, his MSS., 10; his life, 64; suffers in the Forest 
Court, 175; letter to, 190; how regarded by his contemporaries, 313. 

Bell, Capt. Philip, governor of Bermuda, 30, 94; letter to Sir N. Bich 
(1629), 31; resigns governorship, 54; his marriage, 55; appointed 
governor of Providence, 93; early life, 93; quells religious quarrels, 
114, 161; regulations for decorum, 162; supersession, 216; disputes 
with the company, 218; later life, 219. 

Bell, Sir Robert, 218. 

332 INDEX 

Bermuda or Somers Is., elahned bj Virginia Gompanj, 20; eompanj 
formed, 20; Bueeeesion of governors in, 30; Commons' committee of 
enqoirj, 31, 75; Qovemor Bell resigns, 54; troubles respecting sale of 
commodities, 112; emigrants to ProTidence, 113; religious diffieulties, 
114; land of ProTidence Gompanj in, 124; captured goods deposited, 

Billinger, Ck>melius, shipmaster, 224. 

Black Point Biver (New England), 141. 

Blauvelt or Blewfield, Abraham, explores the Main, 272; disposes of his 
booty in Bhode Island, 274. 

Blessing, ship, despatched as man-of-war, 224; voyage and capture, 231. 

Blewfields Bay (Jamaica), 273. 

Blewfields Biver or Escondido, 273. 

Bluefields, see Blewfields. 

Boswell, William, stockholder, 127; his share in the Garolana project, 214. 

Bourchier, Sir John, member of New England Council, 36; friendship with 
the Barringtons, 65. 

Boynton, Sir Matthew, interested in Saybrook, 179; abandons his projected 
emigration, 185. 

Bragg, Capt. Bichard, Tortuga adventurer, 105 ; in Nevis, 152. 

Brazil, Dutch successes in, 86, 238; Spanish efforts for recapture of, 297. 

Buccaneers, settlements in Hispaniola, 104. See Esquemeling. 

Butler, Capt. Nathaniel, letter to Earl of Warwick, 22; malfeasance as 
governor of Bermuda, 23 ; governor of Providence, 239 ; early life, 251 ; 
sides against Sherrard, 255 ; buccaneering cruise, 257 ; allows Spaniards 
to land in Providence, 299. 

Calvert, Sir George, first Lord Baltimore, 85. 

Camock, Capt. Sussex, commander in first Providence voyage, 52; com- 
mands expedition to Main, 141 ; proceedings at the Cape, 165 ; dealings 
with privateers, 227; returns to England, 272. 

Camock, Capt. Thomas, settles in New England, 141. 

Cape Biver, Wanks or Segovia, 165, 275. 

Carolana, 9, 213. 

Cartagena, 194, 299. 

Carter, Capt. Andrew, sent out by Woodcock, 229; quarrels with Sherrard, 
252; appointed deputy-governor, 257; sends ministers as prisoners to 
England, 257; his tyranny, 268; kills Spanish prisoners, 298; sur- 
renders the island, 301 ; command in Jamaica expedition, 323. 

Chamberlayne, Abraham, merchant, 151. 

Charity, ship, voyage of, 109, 129 sqq. 

Charles I, absolutism of, 173; appealed to by Providence Company, 202; 
tortuous foreign policy, 206, 236; refuses permission for the sale of 
Providence, 238. 

Cheeke, Sir Thomas, stockholder, 126. 

INDEX 333 

Church affairs in Providencei directions concerning, 95, 119; religious 
worship at the Main, 143; difficulties of the theocratic temper, 160; 
constant quarrels, 252 sqq. 

Gimarones in Darien, 136; in Hispaniola, 191. 

Claiborne, William, founds trading post in Isle of Kent, 85 ; founds colonj in 
Buatan, 267; its struggles and end, 315. 

Coke, Sir John, Sec. of State, proposes the formation of an English West 
India Company, 28; memorandum concerning Providence Company, 
204; letter from Spain to, 233. 

Collins, Joseph, shipmaster, 142. 

Colonies, essential difference between Spanish and other, 187. 

Connecticut, Woodcock's enterprise in, 228; see Saybrook. 

Constitution of government in Providence, 92; proposed for Saybrook, 181. 

Conway, Sir Edward, is granted rights of reprisal, 224. 

Costa Bica, trade of, 195. 

Cotton in Providence, 147, 262. 

Courteen, Sir William, finances the first settlement in Barbadoee, 29; 
secures the support of Ley, Earl of Marlborough, 30; his daughter 
marries Bichard Knightley, 70. 

Cradock, Matthew, first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company, 47. 

Cromwell, Elizabeth, n6e Bourchier, 36, 65. 

Cromwell, Oliver, Lord Protector, connection with Providence Company, 4; 
relationship with the Barringtons, 65; story of his projected emigra- 
tion, 172 sqq.; his ''Western Design," 314, 320; letter concerning 
Providence, 323; attempts to secure New England colonists for 
Jamaica, 324. 

Crops and commodities in Providence and the Main, 113, 146 sqq., 166. 

Curasao, Spanish attempt at capture, 187. 

Customs, application for abatement of, 211. 

Darien, projected Indian trade, 136 sqq.; honour paid to the name of 
Drake, 138; failure of the project owing to Dutch brutality, 138. 

Darley, Henry, his life, 125; interest in New England, 126; secures support 
for Saybrook, 179. 

Declaration of Providence Company to King in Council, 202; reply thereto, 

Declaration touching Public Worship, 43. 

Delahay, Capt., 214. 

Delbridge, John, interloping trade with Bermuda, 30. 

De Leau, Abraham, 267. 

Dell, Capt. John, 267. 

De Poincy, French governor of St. Christopher, 281. 

Desaguadero or San Juan Biver, 194; Jackson's raid, 268. 

De Sanc6, Huguenot leader, 213. 

D'Esnambuc, Sieur, settles in St. Christopher, 28, 214. 

D'Ewes, Sir Simonds, letter from Moundeford to, 249. 

334 INDEX 

Ditloff, Mr., miniflter, 119; accused of levity of conducti 120; suspends 
Halhead from the sacrament, 160. 

Drake, Sir Francis, honoured hj Darien Indians, 138; and hj the Moskitos, 

Dudlej, Thomas, joins Massachusetts Bay Company, 46. 

Dutchmen in Providence, precautions concerning, 97; ill behaviour at 
Darien, 138; interloping trade at Providence, 154. 

Dye-stuifs, new materials for, 107; law-suit concerning logwood, 151. 

Dyke, John, arranges for first Providence voyage, 50; deputy-governor of 
Providence Company, 60; his life, 63; sharp practice in provisioning 
the Seaflawer, 90, 112; malpractices in Bermuda, 112; paid out, 124. 

Elfrith, Daniel, exploits in the Treiuurer, 21, 31, 51; early life, 50; com- 
mands first expedition to Providence, 50; second voyage, 52; attacked 
in Bermuda council, 55 ; refuses governorship of Providence and becomes 
admiral, 93; directed to sail for new commodities, 98, 140; roving 
voyages, 154; quarrels with Axe, 156; leads a party in the island, 
217, 252; attacked by the Puritans, 253. 

EliBabeth, pinnace, 135; voyage, 138. 

Eliot, Sir John, intemperate speeches in Parliament, 44; conmiitted to the 
Tower, 45. 

Emigrants, classification of, 89; places of origin, 91; freedom from restric- 
tion, 250; causes tending to facilitate emigration, 309. 

Endecott, John, sails on first Massachusetts voyage, 42; hostility to 
Humphry, 286. 

Esquemeling, his untrustworthiness and sensationalism, 280 note. 

Essex, Mr., planter, killed by Spaniards, 113; foments discontent, 115; his 
papers found, 115. 

Eulate, Juan de, governor of Margarita, destroys settlements in Trinidad 
and Tobago, 189. 

Evertsen, Richard, shipmaster, 192. 

Expectation, ship, 171, 195; despatched as man-of-war, 224; her eventful 
voyage, 230. 

Family, the artificial, in Providence, 97, 222, 259. 

Fenwick, George, settles in Saybrook, 180; left to manage the settlement, 
185; sells out to the Connecticut towns, 185. 

Feoffees for Impropriations, 70 note. 

Fiennes, James, stockholder, 126. 

Fiennes, William, first Viscount Saye and Sele, his life, 65; a patentee of 
Saybrook, 83; suffers in the Forest Courts, 175; his proposed constitu- 
tion for Saybrook, 181; determines to test the legality of ship-money, 
241; announces his intention of emigrating, 244; distrust of him in 
New England, 287; replies to Winthrop's protest, 288. 

Fiennes-Clinton, Theophilus, fourth Earl of Lincoln, an important Puritan 
leader, 46; son-in-law of Saye, 66; loans from, 128. 


INDEX 335 

Filbjy Samuel, emigrant to Association, 109; letter to Harrington, 152; his 

death, 193 ; his wife escapes from Association, 193 ; but returns, 212. 
Pinch, Sir John, 175. 

Fitch, Thomas, clerk of stores in Providence, 94; deputj-governor, 305. 
Pload, a servant, his ill treatment, 158. 
Florida Channel, Hilton's plan for seizing islands, 135. 
'*Flota," the, 194. 
Floud or Floyd, Boger, sheriff of Providence, 94; letter to Sir N. Bich, 

227; governor of Tortuga, 280. 
Fonseca or San Bemaldo, mythical island, 132 sqq. 
Forbes, Lord, 246. 

Forman, Thomas, smith, quarrel with Bous, 157. 
Fort, Bhick Bock, 97. 
Fort, Darley, 96. 
Fort, Henry, 96. 
Fort, Warwick, erection and situation, 53; commanded by Samuel Aze, 96; 

finishing of, 113. 
Friars in Providence, 299, 301. 

Fuemayor, Buiz Fernandez de, captures Tortuga, 193. 
Gage, Thomas, his account of Providence, 231. 
Gardiner, Lyon, builds Saybrook fort, 180. 
GawseU, Gregory, Providence adventurer, 77. 
Gerbier, Sir Balthasar, English agent in Flanders, 264. 
Gerrard, Sir Gilbert, Bart., Providence adventurer, 68. 
Golden Falcon, pinnace, 141, 142. 

Gondomar, Diego Sarmiento d'Acufia, Conde de, 22; appeals to Privy Coun- 
cil against Bermuda colonists, 24; compels the abandonment of North's 

Guiana enterprise, 27. 
Goose, Elijah, Massachusetts colonist, 292. 
Gorges, Sir Ferdinando, interest in New England Council, 81; his Brief e 

Narration, 82; breach with Warwick, 174; influence in New England 

Council, 174. 
Gracios 6. Dios, Cape, design for trade at, 140; its situation, 164, 275. 
Graunt, John, Providence adventurer, 77. 
Great Contract, the, 310. 
Greville, Bobert, second Lord Brooke, his early life, 66; a patentee of 

Saybrook, 83; suffers in the Forest Courts, 175; offers to take over the 

whole work of the Providence Company, 210. 
Guiana, early expeditions to, 26 ; patent for North 's company, 89. 
Guinea Company, founded to engage in traffic for negroes, 25. 
Gurdon, John, Providence adventurer, 77. 
Half -profit system, 223. 
Halhead, Henry, commands passengers in the Charity, 129; causes of his 

emigration, 129; writer against enclosures, 130; quarrel with Bev. 

Arthur Bous, 157; suspended from the sacrament, 160. 

336 INDEX 

Hampden, John, relationship with the KnightlejB, 70; a patentee for 
Sajbrookf 83; story of his projected emigration, 172 sqq.; arbitrator 
in Bell's case, 218; presence at Puritan meetings, 242. 

Happy Betum, ship, 234, 263. 

Harbottle, Matthew, master of the Little Hopewell, 106; master of the 
Elisabeth, 135, 137; master of the Spy, 267. 

Harcourt, Bobert, patent for colony in Quiana, 26. 

Hart, John, helps the Tortuga colonists, 104; husband of. Providence 
Company, 106; supplies ordnance without authority, 153. 

Harwood, Sir Edward, Providence adventurer, 68. 

Hay, James, first Earl of Carlisle, supports Warner's enterprise in the 
Caribbees, 31; his dealings with Anthony Hilton, 103. 

Heath, Sir Bobert, attorney general, his colony of Carolana, 9, 213; mem- 
orandum on West Indian colonisation, 29; his financial backing by 
Yassall, 213. 

Hein, Piet, his capture of the Plate Fleet, 188. 

Henrietta or San Andreas Island, geography of, 12; shallops built in, 150; 
use as a privateering base, 227. 

Herbert, Philip, Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, obtains a West Indian 
patent, 30, 133; refuses to subscribe to the Fonseca design, 134; sells 
his rights in the West Indies to Warwick, 267. 

Hilton, Capt. Anthofiy, early life, 101; settles in St. Christopher, 102; 
governor of Nevis, 102; leads an expedition to Tortuga, 103; appointed 
governor of Tortuga (Association), 105; misappropriates the com- 
pany's logwood, 109, 151, 212; orders for his supersession, 153; hia 
death, 153. 

Hilton, John, 211. 

Hispaniola, settlements in, 191. 

Hopewell, ship, 224. 

Howard, Thomas, Earl of Arundel, 237. 

Huguenots in St. Christopher and Tortuga, 281. 

Humphry, John, treasurer of the Dorchester fishing company, 41; deprived 
of his office of attorney in the Court of Wards, 45 ; imparts an interest 
in colonisation to the Earl of Lincoln, 46; left to supervise Massachu- 
setts affairs in England, 80; letter from, 81; a patentee for Saybrook, 
83; leader of the discontented in Massachusetts, 286; appointed gov- 
ernor of Providence, 292 ; letter to Mandeville, 292. 

Hunks, Sir Henry, governor of Barbadoes, 216. 

Hunt, John, member of Providence coimcil, 94. 

Hunt, Capt. Bobert, recommended by Lord Brooke for governor, 217; his 
agreement, 219; his governorship, 252. 

Hunt, Thomas, secretary of Providence, reproved by company for careless- 
ness, 157. 

Hunter, ship, 153. 


INDEX 337 

Indians, rules for behayiour to, 138; Axe's troubles with, 275; see also 

Moskito Coast. 
Intoxicants, orders eonceming, 118. 
Jackson, Gapt. William, brings great booty, 267; his great vojage of 1642, 

315 sqq.; captures Jamaica, 316. 
Jamaica, captured hj Jackson, 316. 
James [William], president of Tortuga, 280. 
James, ship, 216, 235. 

Jenks, Thomas, clerk of stores in Providence, 94. 
Jessop, William, his letter book, 9; secretary of Providence Company, 60; 

early life, 62; clerk of the Saybrook patentees, 177; has control over 

colonal affairs, 318; intimacy with Milton, 322. 
Jesu8 Maria de Ajuda, ship, 302. 
Johnson, Isaac, joins Massachusetts Bay Company, 46; letter from, 80; 

letter to, 81. 
Johnson, Alderman Bobert, attacks the Sandys administration, 21. 
Judice, Nicolas de, attacks Providence, 193, 196. 
Justices of the peace, appointed in Providence, 158. 
Kempo Sabada, Providence pilot, serves in the Jamaica expedition, 323. 
Key, Samuel, minister in Association, 110; goes as minister to the Cape, 

Eirke, the brothers, 85. 
Enightley, Bichard, his life, 69; a patentee for Saybrook, 83; Puritan 

meetings at his house, 242. 
La Gallissonnidre Bock, see Fonseca. 
La Gonaive or El Caimito, 191. 
Land Tenure in Providence, 222. 
Lane, Bichard, commands expedition to Darien, 137; nominated for deputy- 

governor of Providence, 257; sent as prisoner to England, 258. 
Laud, Archbishop, his repressive policy as bishop of St. David's, 91; 

metropolitical visitation, 175; becomes head of the Treasury, 176; 

takes an interest in colonial aifairs, 182; unfavourable notice drawn 

to Massachusetts, 183; his dogmatic temper, 283. 
Lefroy, Maj. Gen. Sir J. H., clears up confusion between Old and New 

Providence, 8. 
Le Vasseur, Sieur, captures Tortuga, 282. 
Leverton, Bev. Nicholas, early life, 254; refugee in Providence, 255; sent 

prisoner to England, 257; returns to the West Indies, 305. 
Little Hopewell, ship, 106; her voyage, 108. 

Littleton, Thomas, finances Hilton, 102; attempts to collect his debts, 152. 
Litton, Judith, second wife of Sir Thomas Barrington, 65. 
Logwood, see Dye-stuffs. 
Long Parliament, its work begun in the courts of the chartered companies, 

2; its permanent session as a bar to the recovery of debts, 308. 
Long Bobert, ship, 169, 272. 

338 INDEX 

Main, the directions for trade at, 140, 142; new patent for trade, 168; 
Spanish trade on, 194; exploration of, 272; Saye's description of his 
project for colonisation, 289; see also Moskito Coast. 

Maldonado y Tejada, Don Antonio, attacks Providence, 297. 

Manchester M8S. in the Public Record Office, 10. 

Mary, ship, 265. 

Mary Hope, ship, 216, 235. 

Massachusetts Bay Company, receives grant of land from Warwick, 42; 
government transferred to America, 47 ; Qeorge Harwood, first treasurer 
of, 69; Winthrop sails for America, 80; letter to Qov. Endecott re 
tobacco, 147. 

Massachusetts, colony of, comparison of with Providence, 121, 309; dif- 
ference from other colonies, 123; emigration at its height, 173; 
development of theocracy, 283; causes for discouragement in, 286. 

Merrifield, Balph, finances Warner's enterprise in St. Christopher, 28; 
obtains letters patent for the colony, 29. 

Mersh, Giles, commands the Expectation, 230. 

MicheU, John, stockholder, 126. 

Milton, John, his manifesto against the Spaniards, 321. 

Monkey Bay, 273. 

Montagu, Edward, Viscount Mandeville and Earl of Manchester, Providence 
adventurer, 212; letter to, 265; conducts negotiations with the dis- 
contented Massachusetts colonists, 294. 

Morgan, Lewis, minister, 91; foments discontent and is punished, 115. 

Moskito Cays, 156, 165, 272. 

Moskito Coast, Indians upon, 143; regulations for dealing with, 144; Axe's 
difficulties with the Indians, 275. 

Moundef ord, Sir Edmond, Providence adventurer, 77 ; letter to D 'Ewes, 249. 

Needham, George, planter in Henrietta, 111. 

Negroes, introduced into Virginia, 35; used by Hilton in Tortuga, 110; 
in Providence, 149; negro women sent to Providence, 213; those 
captured by men-of-war to be sent to Providence, 225; increase in 
number, 258; sale in Virginia, 259; rebellion, 261; number captured 
in Providence, 301. 

Nevis, first colonisation of, 102; capture by the Spaniards, 103. 

New England, connection of Providence Company with, 4; proposals to 
divert emigration from, 251; Providence Puritans apply for help to, 
256 ; disposal of captured goods in, 262 ; contrast between New England 
and Providence, 278; Cromwell attempts to secure Jamaica colonists 
from, 324. 

New England Council, Warwick becomes member of, 36; territory divided 
among members of, 42 ; revival of interest in, 81 ; Warwick resigns the 
presidency of, and Gorges becomes prime mover in, 174; surrender of 
charter of, 175. 

Newman, Lionel, 153. 


INDEX 339 

Newman, Capt. Thomas, his roving in the Hunter, 153; secures employment 

in command of man-of-war, 234; sends booty to New England, 262; 

captured bj Dunkirkers, 263; his subsequent career, 264. 
Newport (Rhode Island), base for privateers, 273. 
New Westminster, 53, 151. 
Nicaragua, trade of, 194. 
Noell, Martin, 325. 

North Virginia or Plymouth Company, see New England Council. 
North, Capt. Boger, expedition to Guiana, 27; patent to receive parlia- 
mentary confirmation, 89. 
Nuesca, Diego de, 144. 

Nye, Philip, 178; letter to John Winthrop, jr., 184. 
Oaths, to be administered in Providence, 93; belief in the prayer book for 

emigrants, 183. 
Ojeda, Alonzo de, 144. 
Opposition, formation of an organised, 240. 
Palmetto Grove, a negro hiding place, 150. 
Palatinate, schemes for the recovery of the, 236; ships to be lent to the 

elector, 237. 
Panzani, Gregorio, 175. 
Parker, Capt. Nicholas, 267. 

Parliament, power to confirm Providence patent, 88. 
Patent, the Providence Company's, 86sqq.; is extended to include Tortuga, 

105; new patent for the trade on the Main, 168. 
Peace treaty between England and Spain (1604), 15; id. (1630), 95. 
Peirce, Capt. William, New England shipmaster, 178, 260; transports 

emigrants from Massachusetts to Providence, 293; his last voyage and 

death, 304. 
Pelham, Herbert, a patentee for Saybrook, 83. 
Penn, Admiral, leader of expedition against Hispaniola, 321. 
Pequot Indians, 260. 
Petition of Bight, 42. 
Pilgrim Fathers, sail for America, 36; Warwick secures a patent for, 

36; not of notional importance, 49; financed by London merchants, 123. 
Pimienta, Don Francisco Diaz de, attacks and captures Providence, 298 

sqq.; created Knight of Santiago, 302. 
Pinas, Isla de, 137. 
Pirates and piracy, great increase after 1607, 15; roving voyage of the 

Hunter, 153; pirates in Providence, 154. 
Plague of 1630, 57. 
Pole, pinnace, 136. 
Population of Providence, 150. 
Porto Bello, trade at, 195. 
Povey, Thomas, 325. 

340 INDEX 

Powell, Gspt. John, first settler in Barbadoee, 29. 

Prerogative, eompanj's objection to, 162. 

Price, Lieut. Hugh, member of Providence council, 94. 

Privateering, a prosaic trade, 13; system of profit-sharing, 225; attractions 
of, 276. 

Providence Gompanj, passim. 

Providence or Santa Gatalina, island of, wealth of detail concerning its 
colonisation, 5; confusion with New Providence, 7; geographj of, 12, 
204; articles for the government of, 92; topography of, 150; piracy 
from, 194; Spanish attack on (1635), 194; contrast with New Eng- 
land, 278; Maldonado's attack on (1640), 297; Pimienta's capture of, 
299 sqq.; English account of the capture, 302; comparison with 
Massachusetts, 309. 

Providence, ship, 234, 263. 

Punt, Thomas, shipmaster, 129; arraigned before the company, 131. 

Punta Araya, salt trade with, 14; suggestions for poisoning foreign pirates 
at, 19. 

Puritans, essential difference between English and American, 199; intrigues 
of English leaders with Scots, 240; ultra-Puritan party in Providence 
appeal to New England, 256, 285; breach between leaders in England 
and America, 283. 

Pym, John, new information regarding, in Providence records, 6; appointed 
to committee on Somers Is. Company, 31; early life, 70 sqq.; interest 
in colonial affairs, 74; a patentee for Saybrook, 83; maintains impor- 
tance of Tortuga plantation, 109; suggests the use of negroes, 110; 
takes oversight of supplies, 112; his scheme for removing planters' 
discontent, 118; manages finance, 128; instructions to company's 
officers, 137, 142; directions for dealing with Moskitos, 144; directions 
concerning reprisals, 155; appointed to draw up patent for trade on 
the Main, 167; liberal attitude concerning new subscriptions, 167; 
' complains of the burden of the treasurership, 170; story of his pro- 
jected emigration, 172 sqq.; fined for remaining in London, 175; his 
influence with Vane, 178; traditional hostility to Spain, 197; speech on 
foreign policy, 198; speech on carrying on the Providence design, 200; 
arranges for new subscriptions for reprisals, 209; offers to go to 
Tortuga, 215; works out new scheme of landholding, 222; endeavours 
to secure Bous's release from captivity, 232; takes charge of Puritan 
business in London, 244; letter to Wandesford, 245; becomes immersed 
in national affairs, 294; how regarded by his contemporaries, 313, 329. 

Band, Dr. Samuel, Tortuga adventurer, 104, 213. 

Beprisals, power to exact, 88; permission granted to Providence Company, 
207; directions for carrying on, 220, 225; restriction of the right to 
company's ships, 235; system of licensing to undertake, 266. 

Beskeimer, Capt. Nicholas, 211, 213. 


INDEX 341 

Bieh, Henry, Lord Kensington and Earl of Holland, sent with marriage 
embassy to France, 37; quarrels with Carlisle, 48; governor of Provi- 
dence Company, 59; his connection with the company, 61; promisee to 
secure patent for trade on the Main, 167; influence on foreign policy, 
237; conveys to the company the Eling's refusal of permission for the 
sale of Providence, 238. 

Bich, Sir Nathaniel, letter from Bell (1629), 31; his descent and life, 61; a 
patentee of Saybrook, 83; reimbursed for expenses in flrst voyage, 
124; restrictive attitude towards new subscriptions, 167; endeavours 
to discharge debt, 170; influence with Vane, 178; letter from Henrietta 
to, 227. 

Bich, Bobert, third Lord Bich and flrst Earl of Warwick, his fleet of pri- 
vateers, 16; his matrimonial troubles, 21 note; created Earl of 
Warwick, 34. 

Bich, Bobert, second Earl of Warwick, member of conunittee of Virginia 
Company, 21; not a court tool in the Virginia quarrel, 25; his career 
to 1630, 34; quarrels with East India Company, 35; assists the Pilgrim 
Fathers, 36; adventurer for Northwest Passage, 37; refuses to pay 
the forced loan, 37; receives commission against Spain, 38; grants 
land to Humphry, etc., 42; advises Massachusetts Bay Company, 48; 
revives New England Council, 81 ; grants patent to Saybrook patentees, 
83; quarrels with New England Council, 174; suffers in the Forest 
Courts, 175; compelled to share the Lord Lieutenancy of Essex, 175; 
derivation of his colonial ideas, 224; fails to bring to trial the legality 
of ship-money, 241 ; his intention to emigrate, 245 ; purchases Pem- 
broke 's rights in the West Indies, 267; engages in other West Indian 
schemes, 294, 314; regard in which held by his contemporaries, 312, 
329; issues commission for Jackson's voyage, 316; acquires control of 
all colonial affairs, 318. 

Bishworth, Samuel, conunands passengers in Charity, 129; aids negroes to 
escape, 149; quarrels with the governor, 252. 

Bobartes, John, afterwards Earl of Badnor, Providence adventurer, 75. 

Bobins, Bobert, his sufferings, 268. 

BocheUe, siege of by Bichelieu, 42; capture, 213. 

Boe, Sir Thomas, early trading voyage to Guiana, 26; suggestions for 
aiding the Queen of Bohemia, 237. 

Boncador, islet, 277. 

Boope, Nicholas, shipowner, 119, 136. 

Boot, Bev. Henry, 142; report on condition of Providence, 164. 

Bous, Sir Anthony, 71. 

Bous, Bev. Arthur, lecturer, 119; quarrel with Halhead, 157; his son, 
Anthony, serves in the Jamaica expedition, 323. 

Bous, Francis, afterwards provost of Eton, 71, 72. 

Bous, John, diarist, 56.